Transitioning from high school soccer to NCAA Division III college soccer again is this week’s topic of discussion and how it can be quite an adjustment for student-athletes. In the last post, we talked about some of the soccer related aspects that student-athletes will face when they make the jump to NCAA Division III college soccer like playing time, speed of play and travel. This week we will look at still more of those soccer aspects that can have a huge impact on the transition.
First and foremost is the coach. If you were recruited by the school, you had a good bit of interaction with the coach and now you are going to be playing for him/her. Your new coach may be playing a different formation then what you played before and they may ask you (or tell you) to play a new position. How will you handle that? Can you make the adjustment given all the other factors that we talked about in the last post?
If you were a recruited player, you will now be working with the coach as a “player” instead of as a “recruit”. Some student-athletes can find this quite a challenge. The recruiting process is a sales process, where the coach (if they want you to come to their school) is trying to “sell” you on their school. Once you are there however, it can turn into a different story. The coach who seemed so nice and sweet while recruiting you is now a demanding, overbearing monster who pushes you to your extreme limits.
Also as a recruited player, you may find that you get treated differently then the non-recruited (i.e. “walk on”) players. Since a coach has invested so much time in recruiting you, the last thing that they want to see happen is have some player come out of nowhere and do better than the player that they have been recruiting for the last 12 months. They have a lot invested in that player and don’t want to give up on them. Likewise, if you were not recruited, you may find it harder to get the coach’s attention. He/She may think from the beginning that you are not good enough (because they did not recruit you), so why should they have any confidence in playing you?
As either a recruited or non-recruited player, you have to build your coach’s confidence in your abilities. All of the returning upperclassmen have played one or two or three years for the coach, and he/she knows their strengths and weaknesses as players and people. They are known quantities; meaning the coach knows what they will get by putting the upperclassmen in the game. With new freshmen, it is a bit of an unknown. You might be a good player (or even an excellent player), but your coach may not have the confidence to put you in certain situations because they don’t know how you will react. Will it be too much pressure for you? Will you just react badly and perform poorly? Will you have a negative impact on the rest of the team with your performance?
These are some more of the transitions that student-athletes face when moving from high school to college soccer. Stay tuned for our next post as we continue to look at those on-the-field factors as well starting to examine some of the off-the-field factors that will affect your jump from high school to college.
Want to share your experience going from high school to college soccer? Leave a comment down below or drop us a line at email@example.com with questions or comments. As always, thanks for reading!