The following article was written by LSU Co-Head Men’s Coach, Andy Brandi, and is reprinted here with his permission. He offers some great tips for tennis players just starting their college careers and making the transition from the juniors – enjoy!
When you leave home to go to college, life is going to change dramatically. Things that you took for granted are now your responsibility. Things that you were comfortable with will change. So, let’s talk about them.
You have been working with a coach, at home, for a long period of time. Now you have a new face, new voice, and maybe a new philosophy. Hopefully, the college coach has reached out to your coach at home to attain much needed information to enable your college coach to be most effective: how to best communicate with you, what you have been working on, what you need to improve, and finally, how do you play your best tennis? Communicate with the coach if you feel you are struggling with the transition.
Dorm or Apartment
Some schools require you to live on campus your freshman year. Living off campus will present new issues, like additional upkeep of the apartment and commuting time. I suggest living on campus your first year in school. It will make the transition from home easier and increases opportunities to develop strong social bonds.
You have been living at home, in your own room, without having to share space or conveniences. Now, you must be sensitive to sharing space with a stranger and getting used to their habits. You are tidy and they are messy. You are a morning person and they are a night owl. You are quiet and they are loud! They borrow your stuff without asking. They have people in the room when you want privacy. They party and you are mellow. How do you make it work? How do you live with that person and get along? Getting the right amount of sleep will be a challenge because of your roommate, school, and your social life.
While living at home, all meals were prepared for you. Healthy choices were made in your favor. Now, you have to figure out where to eat, how to make healthy choices, eat healthy snacks, and keep up with the proper nutrition guidelines. It’s easy to fall into the junk food syndrome by eating what is convenient. The right nutritional balance will allow you to succeed on the court and in the classroom.
At home, you might have the use of a car or someone to cart you around. Now, if do not have a car, you must depend on roommates, teammates, bicycle, or bus system to get around. Going grocery shopping, to dinner, practice, or going on a date will not be as easy as it was when you had a car. This is a big adjustment if your family or the school does not allow you to have a car as a freshman. Now you have to plan ahead to make it work.
Is the biggest adjustment for incoming freshman. You have to juggle school, practice, and social life to have a balanced existence in school. You have no one other than yourself to police where you need to be, when you have to study, and when to go out socially. You must balance these areas to achieve success between your sport, school, and social life. When one is off, the other two will suffer; they all have to be in a good place for things to go smoothly.
At home, your parents kept track of your school progress. In college, utilize your academic advisor and all the other academic resources your school provides. As a freshman, you will attend study hall for 2 hours, 4 to 5 days a week. Secondly, if you are having trouble in a class, or think you might, ask your advisor for a tutor. Just like your sport, it’s much more difficult to come back when you fall too far behind. Be proactive! The advisor will steer you in the right direction for you to be successful in school.
Things such as doing laundry are new in some cases. At home, laundry is done for you. You might want to start doing your own laundry at home for a few months to get used to doing it. Keeping your finances in place is another area that you will have to stay on top of. Managing your money will be important if you do not want to be overdrawn in your accounts or run out of money on your debit card! Learn to create lists and set reminders.
Start mentally preparing months ahead so that the transition is smooth. Good luck!