Ninety-nine percent of high school athletes are not physically or mentally ready to play sports at the college level when they arrive on campus. As a former SEC strength coach, I have seen it all when it comes to college freshmen: overweight, underweight, overall weakness, flexibility issues, muscle imbalance issues, coordination issues, balance issues, and the two unforgivable and easiest to remedy, out of shape and arrogant.
Coaches can forgive the first seven issues on your first day as a collegiate athlete, but showing up with a poor conditioning level and/or with a sense of entitlement is a big problem. Adjusting to life as a college athlete is hard enough; don’t make it harder than it already is.
Want to impress the coaching staff and upper-class teammates?
Show up Prepared
If you think you’re in shape, think again. Double what you’re doing and show up in the best shape of your life. Enthusiasm, pack as much of it as you can and bring it to every area of your day (workouts, film, practice, class, etc.).
Put Your Ego Aside and Come in Humble
No one cares what you did in high school or that you were a hometown hero—so was every athlete in the classes ahead of you and the class you’re in. All that matters is what you do from this day forward because only a third of your class will make it to their senior year.
Be Prepared Mentally to Give up Everything in Your Life to Succeed at the College Level
You will have very little free time on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. This is the one aspect of college athletic life that is the hardest for most freshmen to deal with and is the reason why most quit their freshman year.
Be Prepared to Earn the Right to Play
Nothing will be given to you no matter how great you were in high school. Remember Cam Newton sat the bench on his freshman year.
If you want to succeed at the college level, be mentally and physically prepared. It won’t be easy, but when our career is said and done, you will be a better person for it and will look back with fond memories.
This article was written by Kurt Hester, one of the top athletic trainers in the country. Kurt will be writing regular columns here on our blog, so send us your training questions. This is a great opportunity to get your questions answered by the same trainer who helped Tim Tebow prepare for the NFL draft. Leave your questions in the comments section below or find us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.