One of the biggest adjustments I’ve seen in my four years at William Jewell College is freshmen and transfers learning to handle the demands of school and softball at a high level. Your stress levels increase when you realize everything you have to do and how competitive it is in both school and softball. The adjustment can be very difficult especially if you start cutting corners and don’t take care of yourself.
Being a collegiate student athlete means you have responsibilities and expectations to meet. The biggest responsibility and main priority is school first. Although you may think you are only there to play softball, school is your top priority. The harsh reality is that an education or degree will take you further in life than softball. There is a reason that the word STUDENT comes first in student athletes. At William Jewell College we take pride in our individual GPA’s and set goals as a team in order to obtain them. The adjustment to a top notch school can be a little overwhelming at first but there is a lot of help and you need to take advantage of it. At times it can be a struggle balancing school and softball; therefore it is very important to get help when needed. Most schools have tutors you can meet with and at many schools they are free. Regardless, you should take full advantage of them as you adjust to the difficulties of college. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable going to a tutor, then ask a student in your class who understands the material; here at Jewell I’ve found there’s always someone in your class willing to help. Another option is seeking help from the professor. Especially at a small school like Jewell, professors encourage meeting with them. They post their office hours online, in the syllabus and sometimes announce it in class. Meeting with your professor shows that you are trying and care about the course. It never hurts to send a quick email these days. Oh, and don’t forget your teammates they’ve been through it and have lots of insight they can share. Bottom Line: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your professors, advisors, teammates, and especially your coaches are there for you.
One of the biggest mistakes I see new athletes make is not taking care of themselves. As a collegiate student athlete, one of the toughest responsibilities is taking care of your health. Getting enough sleep is very important. It’s easy to stay up late doing others things whether you’re studying for a big exam, doing homework, watching Netflix or just hanging out with friends. It’s your responsibility to get enough sleep so you aren’t groggy the next day. You need the energy to stay focused in class and to perform well in practice. Coach Combs tells us, “it’s not the amount of sleep you get each night that maters; it’s the amount you get before midnight that is most important.” It’s not only your responsibility to yourself; it’s also your responsibility to the team to take care of yourself at all times. Also to stay healthy you need to eat right and drink plenty of water. Be sure to pick light foods that aren’t greasy, but be sure to eat enough so you aren’t starving later. If you don’t have time to eat before practice check with your school food service to see if they have a sack lunch plan or a to go lunch box. You might have to pick up food in between class or the night before. Also pack a few snacks to eat during class or before practice. It’s your responsibility to take care of your body so you can perform. You can’t perform in the classroom or on the field if you’re tired, worn out, or sick because you didn’t take care of yourself.
To be successful in the classroom and on the field you have to hold yourself accountable and be disciplined. College is a great time and it teaches us so many life lessons that are preparing us for the jobs we’ll have when we graduate. College can be one of the best four years of your life; learn to take care of yourself, hold yourself accountable by being disciplined, and don’t cut corners and you’ll always be a winner.
Senior, 2ndÂ base
William Jewell College