Being a college student-athlete is a full-time job. Actually, it’s like two full-time jobs that you have to balance simultaneously. While playing sports in college will provide you with great skills and habits you will take with you in life after sports, it is important to understand what you can expect in a typical day in the life as a college athlete. For the purposes of this example, let’s look at an out-of-season schedule (during the fall semester) for a college baseball player.
Important: This is not meant to scare anyone or deter young athletes from pursuing college athletics, but rather to provide a glimpse into what to expect.
*keep in mind that these numbers are hypothetical, and schedules will vary based on institution
Wake up and get ready for morning workouts. Perhaps your roommates need a second wakeup call from you if they are sleeping through their alarms. It is also important to get something (light) in your stomach before you go to workouts, so your body has something to burn.
Assuming you are either on-campus or live close to campus, this is when you leave the house and head to workouts. Pro Tip: leave extra time if you live in the frozen tundra and need to warm your car up or scrape off the frost.
Many sports have morning workouts at 6:00 A.M. These can range from weights to conditioning, or sometimes a mixture of both. Some institutions are slowly going away from these, but for the most part you can expect at least a couple early morning workouts during the offseason.
Morning workouts end just before 7:00, because classes start at 8:00. This leaves you with about 50 minutes, including the drive both ways, to get showered and ready for class that day, not to mention get some food in your system. Anything quick and easy to grab on the way out the door is a common breakfast of champions for many college athletes.
8:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M.
Most athletes try to get their classes out of the way early, since practice will start in the afternoon. If your major has classes only offered at certain times in the day, the coaching staff will work with you on arriving to practice, but you MUST communicate your schedule early. For the most part, especially early on in your college years, most of your classes will fall somewhere in this time frame.
Sometimes this is your only chance in the day to grab some lunch. This is a great time to go to the dining hall and spend some time with friends before practice starts.
Most coaches will start practice somewhere between 2:00-3:00. For baseball practice starting at 3:00, position players are expected to show up no later than 2:30 ready to go. Pitchers usually all report even earlier, around 2:15. Contingent upon geographic location, don’t forget layers because the winter sun sets quickly!
3:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M.
Practice. Some days this time frame may vary, but good luck trying to predict when a college coach will end their practices. If everything goes according to plan, and coach isn’t completely unhappy with how that day’s practice went, then they should let everyone out on time.
Campus dining halls close around 7:00. Do you run home to change out of your sweaty gear, or do you have to rush to get in a last swipe for a meal? Come 7:01, those doors are locked, and it’s another night of fresh homemade ramen.
7:30 P.M. – You’re Done
This is when you are just getting home from dinner, treatment from the trainers, or depending on the sport, film sessions. Here’s the time to take a quick shower and get started on your mountain of schoolwork.
During in-season competition, you may be faced with long road trips, flights, and hotel rooms where studying and coursework will have to be completed. You can work as long into the night as you need to on your homework, but keep in mind that tomorrow you GET to wake up bright and early to do it all again!