As high school athletes transition to the college level, they must be prepared to balance the increase in academic and athletic demands. There are many challenges that student-athletes face, and being able to adjust to these changes is important in determining success on and off the field.
Many former Pride athletes have made the impressive jump from high school to college athletics, and have succeeded in their endeavors. Madison Hoffmann and Eric Fitz, two former standout LRHS athletes, have made their transition to collegiate sports, and through careful preparation and hard work, have found success.
Madison Hoffmann, a four-year letterman on the LRHS women’s soccer team, now plays for the UNCG Spartans. As the college women’s soccer team slowly comes to an end, Hoffmann reflects on her preparation and journey through her first year in college athletics.
Hoffmann committed to UNCG during her junior year of high school and knew preparation would be beneficial to her success when she arrived with the Spartans. Hoffmann prepared for college soccer by strictly following the fitness packet UNCG gave to her and getting the most out of every high school or club practice.
As Hoffmann transitioned to the college level, she experienced the stress of balancing a successful path in both soccer and in the classroom. “College athletics are way more time consuming than high school athletics. You have practice and weights, and recovery sessions and games on the weekend,” said Hoffmann, via text.
However, Hoffmann has still managed to be successful in the classroom despite a busy schedule. As a freshman athlete, Hoffmann needs to complete six hours of study hall per week to ensure all of her work is done. Hoffmann also finds time to finish school work during road games, when there is significant downtime between games.
As Hoffmann closes on on her inaugural season at UNCG, her experiences thus far have far exceeded her expectations when she arrived. “I thought a lot of it would be based on seniority but the coaches give every player an opportunity if they earn it. It’s also really cool to be able to travel around the country and see other universities,” said Hoffmann.
For any high school athletes who strive to one day play in college, Hoffmann has some wise words of advice: practice, practice, practice and play your hardest at all times because you never know who could be watching.
Eric Fitz was named a U.S. lacrosse All-American during his senior year at LRHS and is one of the best talents to have come from the Pride lacrosse program. Fitz now plays lacrosse for the Queen’s University Royals in Charlotte, and has made positive strides in transitioning from high school to college athletics.
By the time Fitz arrived at Queen’s, his preparation for college lacrosse had started many months before. Fitz was in the gym or on the field six days a week during high school and knew being at the top of his physical ability would pose many advantages for him.
Although the lacrosse season has not commenced, Fitz has already experienced how time-consuming and pressing college athletics are. “College sports are different because you are one of 45 people that all have the same goal and hard working mindset. Everything is more difficult, standing out is difficult, you must commit to the team. College sports are your life, 6 days a week throughout every day you’re either preparing for practice, practicing or recovering from practice.” said Fitz, via text.
With an already busy schedule, like many student-athletes, Fitz has found it stressful to find the ideal balance between sports and class work. However Fitz has found ways to combat stresses by preparing schedules for the next day and using any free-time available to complete work. Fitz has even gone as far as to scheduling naps to maintain his energy throughout the week.
Despite the stressful lifestyle of a student-athlete, college sports has met Fitz’s expectations. “It was very close to what I imagined, especially after overnight visits and watching games. Unlike high school, you live with your teammates and are always around them, the sense of brotherhood is unparalleled.” said Fitz.
As Fitz prepares for his season, he has some advice to any aspiring college athlete: be in great shape and work on the basics. Having good fundamentals is the base for any successful athlete. Coaches can teach the rest but there isn’t a substitute for skill and hard work.