According to the NCAA, almost 500,000 college athletes are members of the nearly 20,000 collegiate teams in the United States. There are 24 sports in the NCAA, and truly, playing at the college level is a big deal. While we see many young athletes gear up for playing basketball, football, baseball, and soccer at professional levels, it is also important to consider the significance of a foundational freshman year and a solid college experience for athletes. Being a freshman means moving into a new place with new routines—socially, academically, and athletically. There is a lot to adjust to and balance as a first-year student athlete. Read on to learn more about the freshman’s guide to college athlete training.
Set goals. Having measurable goals for workouts, achievements, and even social life and academics can help freshmen athletes to focus on what they’re working towards. It is essential to approach attainable, realistic goals and implement plans that are doable. Chances are, you’re still growing and developing as a freshman; you can gradually increase your training as you get fitter and stronger.
Know thyself. Freshman year is a time for independence and responsibility. One of the biggest responsibilities a student athlete has is to take care of his or her own body. Start with the basics like sleep and nutrition. Know what your body needs in terms of rest and food. Remember that sleep is a key part of the process of muscle growth and recovery. Eating a healthy diet and staying hydrated is essential for energy and healing as well. You’ll be learning a lot freshman year, but begin with these body basics so that you are giving yourself the best foundation for athletic success.
Consider cross training. Being physically fit may require more running than you do in your sport. Or perhaps you might want to incorporate an additional strength and conditioning regimen to your workouts. Even additional training in yoga can be a great added activity for athletes of all sports. Whatever you add on to your training will be in the name of improving your overall physical fitness levels and reducing your risk of injury.
Surround yourself with the right people. Whether it is your teammates, your roommates, or friends you meet at the gym or on campus, partnering with people who have healthy lifestyles and fitness goals can be so beneficial. Fitness-minded friends will be more likely to focus on good nutrition and other healthy habits, which can be a great influence in your daily life at college.
Dining hall diet. While athletes will have access to a variety of tempting foods throughout their college career, making healthy choices in the dining hall will contribute to athletic success. Sure, pizza and fries are fine once in a while, but know the benefits of limiting things like sugar, alcohol, and processed foods. Keep your plate cleaner with fruit, veggie, and lean protein options if possible.
Make a good impression. As a first-year athlete, you’re going to have to adjust and adapt throughout the season and school year. Let your coaches and teammates know that you’re there to compete, to improve, and to be a supportive teammate. Putting in hard work, offering to help others, and connecting with coaches and staff is key to creating a great community for yourself as a freshman athlete. Also: Attitude is everything.
Manage your time well. Classes, homework, projects, dining hall time, practice, training, films, games, sleep, and socializing will likely fill your schedule. Time might be one of the hardest things for a freshman athlete to manage. Be sure to prioritize your tasks, and implement tools like a written planner, an alarm clock, and a calendar on your phone. Showing up on time—or better yet—early for mandatory team events like practice, meals, and training is a good rule of thumb.
Be ready for a challenge. It is so exciting to start a career as a college athlete. Just know that this is a journey and a process. There will be challenges from start to finish, and you can prepare yourself to get through and grow through any tough times that you face both on and off the field.
Seek some help if you need it. If you are a freshman athlete looking to improve your training results, know that there are professionals available that can help you achieve your sports and fitness goals.
Reach out to ROI. ROI is in the business of building elite athletes. Our strength and conditioning coaches have helped athletes of all levels—from adolescent to professional—achieve great outcomes in their sports. ROI focuses not only on physical training and conditioning, we have a team that includes certified doctors of physical therapy, registered dieticians, licensed massage therapists, and a dedicated support staff to help athletes with a personalized program.
ROI offers services for off-season training, injury rehab, return to play, and pre-season preparation. We know that athletes have unique, personal goals, and we tailor our sessions to help you meet them.
Call us. Call ROI at 512.962.9141 to learn more about how to get that extra college athlete training that will help you during your athletic career.