Prepare for Success – A Year in the Life of a High School Freshman
As the air turns crisp and the leaves start to fall, a new class has entered their freshman year in high school. Although it will be four years until these freshmen step onto a college campus, for those looking to play a sport at the next level, their preparation begins now. Freshmen should strive to develop good study habits and learn to manage their time effectively; two skills that will help lead to success throughout life. By focusing attention on the classroom early on in their high school career, a student can set themselves up for success over the next four years and into college. A strong academic standing will create additional opportunities for playing sports at the college level.
As a freshman it can be intimidating just going to class, but it is important to gain the attention of coaches in a positive manner early on. Players should look for notices on any pre-season team meetings, workouts or lifting sessions that the coach or team captain may hold. If athletes are playing fall ball, they should use this time to work on getting better within all aspects of their game. Keep in mind that playing another sport can also help in overall athletic development. There are numerous skills that translate to the baseball and softball field from basketball, soccer, and football, among others.
Here is some advice for freshmen to get the most out of their first year in high school:
Take a Break
Don’t forget to step away from the game during the offseason if you need a break. It’s a good thing to take a breather, as you will be more energized as you get closer to the spring season. And while you take a break from the physical part of the game, start preparing yourself mentally for the next season. When the calendar flips to November, it is a good time to start planning a winter training schedule. When planning your next few months, think to yourself, “How can I get better every day?” Do some self-reflection and assessment of strengths and weaknesses, whether it’s through on-field mechanics or mental preparedness.
The weather may be cold outside in December and January, but that should not stop players from pushing themselves in the classroom and in the gym. While there are baseball and softball specific workouts you can do in the gym, the main focus should be on getting stronger, faster, and more athletic to help with your overall development, which you can achieve from playing other sports throughout the year.
Balance School Work and Field Work
Assess your academic progress and quickly determine which areas you need to improve and make the appropriate changes. Seek help from your parents, teachers, and guidance counselor, as needed. Contrary to what you may think, freshmen year grades DO MATTER! On the field, position-specific training should be a focus to prepare for that first day of tryouts.
When the season arrives, you will need to commit more time to the team, practice and games. It is important to develop a schedule in advance that allows you to effectively manage schoolwork, extra conditioning workouts and your social life. Proper time management will be the key to your success. Playing in the teenage divisions of Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball® are also important in providing a competitive outlet to enhance your skills, while playing with your friends. Little League’s rules allow you to work with your high school coach to ensure you can be a part of both teams. The season should be fun, not stressful. Your schedule should allow for a proper balance of your responsibilities on and off the field.
Focus on Giving 110 Percent
It is the first season of your high school career; make the most of it by working hard everyday. Coaches notice work ethic, desire, and heart. The harder you work, the better your chances are for earning additional playing time. As a freshman it will most likely be the first time that the coach has seen you play. Relax and try your best. This approach will help you perform at your highest level.
Once the season is over, players should begin to plan next year’s academic schedule and goals. You should also start looking at college programs that might interest you. It is never too early to start looking at possibly universities. The earlier you start thinking about college the easier it will be to make your decision as a senior. Use the Internet and any assistance your high school provides as a research tool in order to decide what interests you when looking at a school’s location, size, extracurricular activities, and academic programs.
Remember, this process is supposed to be an exciting one. Set yourself on the road to college success by putting in the time and preparation during your freshman year.
How Baseball Factory and Softball Factory Can Help
All players within the Little League program are encouraged to contact Baseball Factory or Softball Factory to discuss any college recruiting questions they may have as they navigate the process. Baseball Factory and Softball Factory serve as a college recruiting resource, especially for players in the Junior League, Senior League, and Big League divisions. The Factory player representatives are available to discuss your goals and provide guidance to help achieve your objectives. This is an exclusive benefit for players within the Little League program based on the partnership with Baseball Factory and Softball Factory.
The partnership was developed in 2009 to provide Little Leaguers with increased player development and college recruiting opportunities through participation in Baseball Factory and Softball Factory events, and education from the Factory staff. In addition to events held at the Little League International headquarters in Williamsport, Pa., the Factory hosts event in all 50 states, year round.
With 20 years of experience, the Factory has helped more than 50,000 players achieve their dream of playing in college and those players have received more than $1 billion in scholarships.