Three years ago, I was a nervous incoming freshman who didn’t know much about how life was going to be as a student athlete at Naz. Now, I’m the junior captain of the women’s tennis team at Nazareth College.
Regardless of what sport you play, I have some advice for new college athletes:
1) Be confident from the start of your very first practice. As you prepare yourself for the first day of preseason training, recognize your strengths and capabilities. Think about how you are going to be an important asset to your team. As you put on your practice clothes for the very first time, don’t be nervous; you have nothing to lose. As a newcomer, there is only room to improve. It’s a brand new start, so OWN IT. Show off your skills and prove that you are a college athlete.
2) Take advantage of any opportunity or time to improve your game. Don’t just settle for the workouts and practices provided by your coach. Go the extra mile and put in extra time for your sport. Whether you need to improve your skills, speed, technique, etc., make time to do it. Ask your coach what he or she thinks you need to accomplish to be better. Also, take advantage of any opportunity in which you can put in more practice time with your teammates. If your captains schedule optional workouts, open gym time, or practice time, GO. Show everyone that you’re here to become a better college athlete.
3) Be able to plan out your time. As a college athlete, your busiest time of year is when your team is in season. Make it a priority to plan out your day hour by hour. You have to make sure you make time for your academic work, practice time, and social life. Plan out when you will do your homework and study time every day. This way, it won’t be 10pm on a Monday when you realize you have more than one assignment due for the next day. Also, it’s extremely important to make time for yourself and friends. Take at least an hour of the day to relax or spend time with friends!
4) Develop mature sportsmanship. There are going to be times during your college athletic career in which you will have to play against opponents with poor sportsmanship. Like you have most likely seen in high school athletics, you may compete with athletes that are rude or inappropriate during game time. Instead of sinking down to their level and being a bad sport back, represent Nazareth by showing that you are a mature college athlete.
5) Have nothing but love & support for your teammates. Your team is your family at Nazareth College. The upperclassman will take you under their wings and support you. So, show your teammates respect and gratitude. As an incoming college athlete, you already start your first day of classes with an established group of friends….how awesome is that?!
6) Don’t be too hard on yourself. As a student athlete, you are working hard in the classroom and on the field. There may come a time where you feel like your classes are taking over your life and you don’t have the time or energy to give it your all in practice. And frankly, that’s okay. You’re here to play a sport, but more importantly, you’re here to earn a degree. Your coaching staff and teammates understand that. Being a college athlete is an accomplishment in it self. Know that you are doing your best and working hard.
7) Be PROUD to be a Golden Flyer. Wear your purple and gold with pride. When you go off to matches/games/meets, know that you represent Nazareth College. Be confident, play your hardest, and be a good sport. Show other schools that Nazareth College athletes are both accomplished and mature student athletes.
8) And of course, HAVE FUN! Make the most out of your four years playing for Naz. As any upperclassman will tell you, it goes by so fast. Enjoy each minute you play on the field, court, ice, turf, etc. Some may say these next four years will be the best time of your life. Don’t take any time during a practice or game for granted. Go out there, play hard, and HAVE FUN. 🙂
Have more questions about what it’s like to be an athlete at Naz? Here are two of our favorite blogs about Nazareth College athletics: 12 Reasons Why Being a Student Athlete at Nazareth is the Best Thing Ever and What Does it Mean to be a DIII Athlete and What’s in it for Me?