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4 Differences Between High School And College Softball

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Transitioning from high school to college is a time of celebrated independence, but also a time that tests accountability. Student-athletes have to show up for class, study for finals, eat healthy and do laundry. This transition can be even more difficult for student-athletes, who also have to juggle their practice, training and competition schedules. Below is a look at the four major differences between high school and college softball.

PLAYING COLLEGE SOFTBALL IS LIKE HAVING TWO FULL-TIME JOBS

When you’re a college athlete, you have two main areas of focus; athletics and academics. Student-athletes spend nearly 80 hours per week balancing early-morning and afternoon practices, classes, weekend training, study halls and games. Apart from simply managing this schedule, student-athletes often struggle to find friends on campus, who aren’t their teammates, that can understand what it’s like to balance their schedule. To remain focused and dedicated, student-athletes need to be incredibly passionate about the game and develop strong time-management skills. If you’re competing at an NCAA Division 2, Division 3 or NAIA schools, you’ll likely have a less demanding schedule and a little more free time.

YOUR TEAM BECOMES YOUR FAMILY

To truly work together, student-athletes must feel bonded with their teammates. While you may have a strong bond with your high school softball team, college softball takes team bonding to a whole new level. Not only will you spend time together on the field, you may also eat together, take classes together, sit in study halls together, work out together in the offseason, and even room together. You’ll also travel together on spring break trips to play tournaments and spend time on campus for post-season games after the rest of the student body has left for the summer. With so much time spent together throughout the year, you’ll find that your college teammates become your family and support system.

COLLEGE ATHLETICS BRING MORE INTENSE TO TRAINING AND COMPETING

College softball players are older, bigger, faster, stronger and more skilled than the athletes you play against in high school. While some college athletes are intimidated by these changes, you have to rise to the challenge.

High school softball is more forgiving of mistakes during games and practices. In college softball, making a mistake puts you at risk of being benched during a game or reprimanded with running extra laps after practice. College softball players make the team as a result of the time and energy they’ve invested in the sport, but they have to earn their spot on the field as an incoming freshman.

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AWAY GAMES ARE A HUGE TIME COMMITMENT

Most high school conferences are within a few miles of each other, so travel time to games is usually less than an hour. In college, conferences are usually spread out across multiple states and travel times can be as long as eight hours. Student-athletes often have to miss classes and spend weekends away from campus. While bus rides are a great time to get homework done and study, the long hours on the road can be draining.

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