by C.J. Aragon

I was asked today what was important for freshmen athletes in college to learn. It got me thinking what were the qualities of successful freshmen athletes? After some thought, here is my list, most of these skills they need to come to college with. Some of the skills can be developed at college, but if you wait too long you may learn a hard lesson.

1. You have to learn to do things on your own. Independence is a key for success of any college athlete. College forces you to be responsible and independent. Going to class, getting your homework done on time, doing your laundry; all of a sudden your parents are no longer there to do it for you. The quicker you learn to be independent in college the more successful you will be.

2. You have to be able to work with others. If you are an athlete you are now on a team, you will be working with others and many times the groups success or failure depends on how well you can work together. All of a sudden this is real life stuff, just like a job, you may not like all of the people you work with but you must respect and work with them to get your job done. Not only on your team but in class group project you will have the one group member who lets the rest of the group carry them. This will be a skill that you will likely use the rest of your life so make sure you develop it well.

3. Time management will be key. You only have so many hours every day. Class, practice and sleep will take up a big portion of that time every day. How you manage the rest of your time will likely determine how successful you are as a student and as an athlete. In no other time in your life will you have the opportunity to improve your athletic skills like you will in college, take advantage of it.

4. Most college students have to learn to live on a budget. Success in college is about learning to make good decisions and one of the first places you can see students go down the wrong path is how they handle their budget. Athletes may have it tougher than many students because of their schedules it may be tough for them to have a job. It is important to learn to manage your money so it does not become an excuse for you to leave college.

5. How to deal with difficult circumstances. Most college athletes were the star in high school, college presents a whole new problem for them, and all of a sudden you are surrounded by many talented athletes. You may not win as much as you did in high school right off of the bat, but how you respond to the difficult times will tell how good you will be in the future. If you start making excuses, and believe that your talent alone will carry you through college, you are sadly mistaken. In college the talent level starts to equalize, the hardest workers will start to rise to the top. Those who can handle failure and learn from it and work through it will be the toughest competitors.
Just my observations…

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