For most families, the day their son or daughter commits to a college is a joyous occasion. All those years of hard work, travel, and expenses have finally paid off in the form of a college acceptance letter, roster spot, and in many cases a scholarship. Parents brag to their co-workers about their outstanding son or daughter. The high school student sports his or her college t-shirt to high school, breathing a sigh of relief that the biggest stress of senior year has magically been lifted. A college commitment should certainly be a source of pride, but what many student-athletes fail to realize is that the hard work is just beginning.
Signing on the dotted line and committing to a college athletic program can be a life changing event. You are joining a team that is, in most cases, much more competitive and intense than what you knew in high school. Don’t downplay the meaning of the word “commitment”. You are not only commiting to play for a college team, you are actually making a commitment to work for the coach. One of the biggest mistakes a student-athlete can make is to take the spring and summer off of training.
Most college coaches will mail incoming freshman a copy of their summer workout.
If your coach does not send you a workout book, ask for one!
Follow your college workout religiously. Those athletes who come to campus in the best physical condition will prove to the coaches that they are serious and committed, and in return will have the best chance of playing early. If you do not understand the workouts, call the coach and ask questions, see if there is an upper-classmen who lives in your area and can help, or consider a few private training sessions at a local gym or training facility.
Set goals for your freshman year and be sure to stay out of trouble. Remember that one wrong move could jeopardize your entire collegiate athletic career. I recently heard from a father of an athlete who had to come home after his freshman year of college because he was not mature or responsible enough to survive on his college campus, despite the fact that he was a star on the baseball team. Once you get to campus it is time to prove to your new coaches why they recruited you. They are looking for student-athletes who will make a positive impact not only in competition, but on the college campus at large.
To those student-athletes who have signed a National Letter of Intent or made an equivalent commitment to a college athletic program - congratulations. Now get to work!