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The Next Level | Transitioning from High School to College Sports

Navigating the switch from high school to college sports can be difficult for student athletes – it’s a whole different landscape from what they’re used to. The transition into college sports is almost like hitting the reset button. Even athletes who were at the top of their game in high school can find themselves in the middle of the pack on their college team. Athletic trainers at the 2023 NATA Conference shared their insight on how to make the most of the transition and stay ahead of the game.

“Treat your body like an investment early on.”

Katy Poole, University of Kentucky

The bottom line is, if you take care of your body from the start, you’ll have less issues to worry about later. It’s easier to stay ahead of problems, rather than trying to play catch up in your junior or senior year. Try to focus on soft tissue recovery (stretching, foam rolling, Marc Pro, etc.), this will be your bread and butter for the next four years as a college athlete.

“Stay humble”

Philip Pieplow, Lowndes High School

Make an effort to build relationships with teammates, athletic trainers, strength coaches, and other training staff. Regardless of what your status was as a high school athlete, in college everyone starts fresh. You will no longer be the big fish, so remember to stay humble and don’t think you’re too big for the game.

“Take recovery seriously”

Whitney Carter, Source Fitness Management

Most student athletes don’t take recovery as seriously as they should. These athletes then wonder why their body isn’t turning around like they need it to. Recovery is a crucial element for any athlete, especially those who are highly competitive. If you aren’t sure how you should be recovering in between training and competitions, talk to your athletic trainers. They aren’t just there for injuries, they can also help advise on how to make sure your body is recovered and ready to perform at its best.

“Get your reps in before you’re on campus”

Pat Giruzzi, Hamilton College

Before the school year begins, put in the effort to complete the workouts coaches send you. This will help get your body physically primed for the season and show coaches your dedication to the team.

“It’s not about what’s happening at practice.”

Kenny Wilka, Marquette University

Recovery is as important as the training itself. How you spend those hours outside of training will affect how your body is able to perform. Marc Pro is a valuable tool athletes can use on their own to enhance recovery and ensure their body is ready to go.

The leap from high school sports to college athletics is a transformative journey that demands more than just physical skill. It’s a shift that encompasses mental fortitude, adaptability, and a dedication to growth. The transition might be daunting, but with the right mindset and the willingness to embrace change, the journey from high school sports to college sports can be a rewarding and fulfilling adventure.