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Phew! You made it! It is an exciting time when you have officially made it through the recruiting process and are being recognized for your talent and hard work as an athlete.
But, it is important to manage your expectations and know that there are still some challenges ahead. Adjusting to college is one thing. Adjusting to being a college athlete is a whole other thing.
While different divisions and leagues have different rules, there is a limit on the number of hours a team can spend together practicing on the court as a whole. There are however a lot of ways around those hours.
The hours are capped to 20 hours a week or four hours a day. This is not always the case because of all the unaccounted time for fitness, conditioning, meetings, etc. This is something that you need to try your best to understand so you know what a coach expects beforehand because, for the highest levels of college competition, the hours can double from 20 to 40 a week.
Summer vacation is not always a vacation for athletes. You will be expected to do summer workouts individually or report back to campus early if you are in a fall sport. There are restrictions in place for athletes being able to work out, specifically with a coach during summers, but a coach will likely suggest that captains arrange “captains practices,” which have no limits.
Off the field training doesn’t necessarily count towards your practices. There is a huge time commitment that is dedicated just to fitness, strength training, and rehab. Because injuries are common in college sports, athletes spend quite a bit of time in rehab and recovery rooms. These hours do not count toward the 20-hour rule, but they are an important part of everyday life for the college athlete.
Your other most important commitments are going to be your academics. To compete as an athlete, you need to meet academic standings. This might mean mandatory study-hall hours every week or tutoring. Many coaches will enforce study hall hours for freshmen, where you need to meet a set number of hours each week dedicated to studying in a room monitored by officials.
Other requirements include the number of credits you have to take to remain a full-time student and honor your NLI. This is all worked out with your sports academic counselor who will also likely require meetings.