Are You Prepared for the Commitment of Being a Student-Athlete?



By Leanne Szela, NCSA recruiting coordinator

As a high schooler contemplating playing college softball, you need to consider the time and commitment involved in the recruiting process and in playing college-level sports. Softball will become your full-time job, plus you have to juggle schoolwork, friends, maybe a part-time job—in other words, you really need to want to it! The way college sports are portrayed on TV, you only see the glamorous side of being a student-athlete, and that is what we all strive for. Unfortunately, student-athletes rarely get a taste of what day-to-day life is like as a college athlete.

‘Student’ comes before ‘athlete’

No matter what, the most important thing to remember is that being a student comes first. The point of attending college is to further your education, get your degree and set yourself up for success throughout the rest of your life.

Balancing school and athletics at the college level is much different than in high school. You are on your own, and a there are tons of new distractions around campus. No matter what division level you play for, there will be some days that you will need to miss class and make up the work. Many days, you’ll be doing homework in hotel rooms, on the bus rides to and from your away games—any time you can squeeze in some homework, you need to do it! Luckily, your teammates are there to back you up, as you will not be alone in this task.

Practice, practice, practice makes perfect

Besides keeping up your schoolwork, there are going to be extra practices, training sessions and more added on with your athletic schedule. In the offseason, you will have your allotted “official” fall practices with your coaches, along with the ones that are run by your teammates. Weight training sessions are also added to that list, including off-season and in-season weightlifting workouts.

Additionally, if you have special stretches or preparations for your games and practices, you need to account for that extra time in the training room beforehand. If you are a pitcher or catcher, you will also have some extra workouts together before the rest of the team arrives.

None of this is supposed to overwhelm or scare you, because it can all be done, and it’s more than possible to achieve success on and off the field. This article is meant to get you thinking about whether you’re ready to put in the work, time and effort to succeed as a college athlete. It is something to think hard about when deciding if playing in college is a goal. This may also give you some ideas of topics to talk to college coaches about, so you understand all that is involved in a specific program.

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