If you read any books on college athletic recruiting, you’ll come across a section that discusses the biggest surprises to new college athletes coming from high school. I can’t think of a single one that doesn’t mention the dramatically harder college strength and conditioning programs. In fact, I’m willing to bet it would come in first by a wide margin over any other freshman surprises.
“Student-athletes we interviewed overwhelmingly reported that one of the hardest adjustments they had to make was in the level of physical endurance and fitness they were expected to meet to perform at the college level.” From Win a Sports Scholarship
How can student-athletes better prepare for the transition from high school to college? They should contact coaches (sport and strength) and understand the demands that are going to be placed on them when they arrive on campus. In addition, following the summer training program closely and preparing for the team’s fitness test will allow the athlete to be ready for training. From The Student Athletes Guide to Getting Recruited
What common physical problems do you tend to see in freshman student-athletes? Most entering freshmen do not understand the increase in training load from high school to college. From The Student Athletes Guide to Getting Recruited
Athletically, the biggest challenge for incoming freshmen are adjusting to the speed and physicality of play and maintaining a consistent high level of performance. From Put Me In, Coach: A Parent’s Guide to Winning the Game of College Recruiting
And it’s not just the increased training load. In college, strength and conditioning programs are usually done on the athlete’s own time so it doesn’t count towards allowed practice hours. Theoretically, players are not required to do it. You could be cynical and say the coaches know who does the work outs and who doesn’t and decides playing time accordingly. Or you could say the coach sees who is in shape at the start of the season and makes the same decision.
In any case, since you’ll be expected to do the workouts on your own once you’re in college, between attending classes and going to practices, why wouldn’t you start preparing by doing workouts in the summer on your own? You might think, “hey, this is my last chance to relax and enjoy myself.” So you would rather develop a workout habit at the same time you’re adjusting to college academics and starting over on the team totem pole?
Ambitious, dumb, or lazy-you decide. Or rather, your coach will.
If your college coach didn’t give you a summer workout schedule, ask for one. If they don’t have one, find one on the internet. It’s not hard. The University of Nebraska has a 22 page baseball summer workout guide that illustrates the exercises. The Softball sample workout includes links to videos. Principia College has their 22 week Softball strength and conditioning workout program with trainers’ comments for downloading. The Baseball team has a specific summer workout with videos on the website for all three phases.
The following links are to forums and posts on what freshman student athletes face, including strength and conditioning programs, as they start off the school year.
- High School Baseball Web College Baseball Workouts
- College Confidential Athletic Recruits First Weeks for Freshman Scholar-Athletes
- Discuss Fast Pitch Softball Adjusting to College Life
- What NCSA Commits are Saying About College Life
- The “Off-Season” is Anything But