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New Recruits Face a Tough Transition Coming into the College Level

Jay O'Connor-

No matter the sport, any athlete is going to face a vast difference in their workload, both physically and mentally once they enter the college level of sports. This is more of a workload than these athletes have ever been through before, both on the court and in the classroom.

Appalachian State Director of Player Development for Women’s Basketball, Mike Huth, believes that the level of competition is also a strong variable that the player might not expect coming out of high school.

“High school players who are coming in, they’re used to being the best at their high school, and at this level everybody was the best on their high school team for the most part,” Huth said. “They’ve got to get used to playing against pretty much nine other players just like themselves out there.”

Huth also helps with getting the players more acclimated to the large workload that these new recruits have never experienced before. This process includes an increased time in the weight room and on the floor, a better diet for the players as well as a more structured sleep schedule, which all put together can be a lot for these new players to handle.

Many new recruits are assessed individually at first, to help them transition to team activities and the speed of the sport at the college level. Huth helps start this process for these recruits in the summer workout sessions before the preseason starts.

“We’re just working on fundamentals for the most part in our individual workouts. Any time we are going over team stuff, we’re going over our base, primary breaks and stuff like that. It’s the bare bones of what we’re trying to do as a program,” Huth said.

Appalachian State Assistant Director of Strength and Conditioning, Brad Bielaniec, believes the same as Huth when it comes to handling new players individually first before introducing them to more team-based workouts.

“Once those recruits commit and become freshmen they will start with a full body assessment to see if there are any imbalances or issues. After that we introduce them to basic movement patterns, body weight exercises along with mental conditioning. Once we see that they have mastered those body weight exercises we will be begin to load said exercises. Every player from when they arrive on campus to graduation will be on a specific workout plan again according to training age, strength level and position,” Bielaniec said.

To add to the increasing levels of physical activity these players must endure, transitioning from high school to college, there is also an increase in the player’s school workload.

Academic Services for Student Athletes Director, Stacy Sears believes that many of the students aren’t prepared for the increased work ethic that college level classes force the student to have when compared to high school.

“So many students, no matter what their level of academics was, high school was just easy for them,” Sears said. “Just the time demands too, it used to take an hour to do math homework and now it takes four hours to do math homework. I think the hardness of the classes for that first semester is hard for a lot of students just to realize the different level of expectation that the college level professor has versus a high school teacher.”

Huth advises athletes to, “Be ready for anything and everything,” when it comes to their first year on a college campus, playing a college sport.

“The workload is going to be a lot, the information is going to be a lot. There’s going to be a lot of different changes to your lifestyle. You’ve got to start thinking about what you’re eating, you’ve got to start thinking about how much you’re sleeping. Everything really comes into play. If you really want to make the most of your first year and get off to a good start you’ve really got to have your stuff in order,” Huth said.
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