Want to Play College Sports? Learn How to Prepare For That Transition!

Feel like you might want to play college sports?  If you are in high school and you answered “yes” to this question, then keep reading. 

There are things you can do right now, while in high school, to help you prepare for a much smoother and easier transition into college. Why not go in with an advantage instead of a disadvantage?  Learn how to prepare yourself for college.

Here are some tips for you: 

Learn Self Awareness

When you know who you are, it’s an advantage.  What does self awareness mean?  It means knowing all there is to know about you. Here is a short list or examples:

  • Know what you like and dislike about everything you can think of

  • Know how you perform under pressure vs without pressure

  • Know if you are more shy or more outgoing

  • Know if you like to study in a group or alone

  • Know why you chose the sport you play and why you play it

  • Know what makes you motivated and what doesn’t

  • Know what you like to study, read, and spend time doing

  • Know what you get passionate about

  • What makes you laugh

This is a very short list, but it gives you an idea of what you should be learning about yourself. Ask yourself questions and be curious every day. The more information you can gather, the more you will learn about yourself. 

You are a person who deserves to find the right place in college where all of your needs can be met, including the ones not associated with your sport. Trust yourself and give yourself the best chance possible to succeed. Own your process. 

Female athlete working hard and jumping up on a plyometric box with a cement background

Stay Clear Of Easy

When you have the choice to take the easy road, think twice!  Easy is not necessarily helping you prepare. Choosing hard work and accepting difficult challenges will do more for you, your preparation for college, and your academic and sports careers, than choosing the easy road. 

Easy is a choice. In order to grow to become the best you can be, you have to get knocked down sometimes. You have to learn resilience and bounce back. College life is not easy and sometimes you will be challenged beyond what you are comfortable with, beyond where your confidence lies.  Those who learn how to get back up and those who choose the hard work are generally more prepared for college than those who relied on the easy way.  

How can you begin to practice this?  Here are some ways: 

  • When you have a chance to skip a rep or not in practice, consider not only doing the last rep, but adding one more on your own. 

  • When no one is watching you work, act like everyone is watching you work and give it your all. 

  • When it’s easier to grab fast food over a healthy meal the night before a game, take the healthy meal and thank your body for performing. 

  • When you are not playing in the game and you are exhausted and just want to rest, consider standing and cheering on your teammates so they succeed, too. 

  • When you see a teammate in a difficult situation in competition, instead of avoiding the opportunity to help, step up and take the hits for her. 

  • When there is negative talk in the locker room and the easy route is to be quiet and let a teammate rip a coach or another teammate, find your voice to stand up for the people who are not in the room.

These are just a few examples from a long list of “easy” situations. Do what’s hard so you are prepared to take the hit, take the fall, or take on the difficult situations that sports and life will put in front of you.  

If you want to empower yourself and build character, take the harder road and get good at it. 

Female basketball athlete working on her shot at an outdoor basketball hoop

Learn Your Craft

Skills are what you need to play in college. You need them in your sport, in school and in your life career.  

Learn everything there is to know about your sport, including the strategies. Study and try to understand why coaches do what they do. How are they making decisions? You will learn something regardless if you agree or not.  

Learn how to study and try to master time management.  These skills will be crucial for, not only succeeding in college, but also getting off to a great start when you step on campus.  

Learn how to communicate and to use your voice. Learn how to communicate effectively with adults. These are things you can practice right now, while in high school. Go have conversations with your coaches and teachers. Speak up about things you care about. Be present when you are talking to friends, parents, coaches, teachers and teammates. 

You may have to put the phone down to be present. Make it important to improve your communication.

Young african american girl smiling and asking for help

Ask For Help

Get in the practice of asking for help.  Situations will present themselves, both in high school and in college, where you feel inadequate. Instead of trying to avoid situations that make you feel uncomfortable, push through them. Many times this requires the courage to ask for help.  

Asking for help is not a weakness, but a sign of strength. When you know yourself well enough, and you have steered clear of the “easy” road, and have worked your tail off to develop your toolbox of skills, then asking for help becomes second nature. It becomes part of your process.

These are all things that you can begin to do in high school. Practicing these four things now will help you prepare for college life as a student athlete and help you make a smooth transition into college. 

Set yourself up for success so you can continue to add chapters to your success story.   

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