Screaming fans. espn interviews free food. elite training facilities.
this is what often comes to mind when people think about the lives of division i soccer players. lots of glamor and great benefits. however, that is only a small part of what it is to be a football player. in fact, his day to day is much more of hard work and much less of press conferences.
To better understand exactly how football players spend their time, we spoke with NCSA head recruiting coach Zak Willis. Coach Willis has impressive experience as a graduate assistant and tight end coach for the University of South Carolina football team, an assistant offensive line coach and recruiting intern at Michigan State, and a special teams coordinator and team coordinator. recruiting in miami of ohio, not to mention his experience as a head coach at several smaller colleges.
Coach Willis broke down a typical day for a Division I soccer player by season, depicted in the image below.
athletes have to spend time, a lot of time
let’s face it: this schedule is pretty intimidating! coach willis explains, “the competitive level in sports is so high that you have to exercise all the time. the biggest surprise is the amount of time players have to spend.” the top three ways soccer players spend their time outside of class and homework:
- Strength and Conditioning – Athletes are expected to fit their strength and conditioning into their class schedule. Coach Willis says sessions last anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours, and athletes typically choose to do this first thing in the morning before classes start.
- practice: Practice lasts approximately two hours, not including break times and pre-practice recordings. athletes typically arrive at the facility 30-45 minutes before practice begins to ensure they are ready to begin.
- training – This time is typically set aside to be recording and working with physical trainers. Especially for athletes who see a lot of playing time, training sessions are crucial to staying healthy and tend to last around 45 minutes each day.
While the off-season offers a little break from the rigors of in-season games and practices, athletes are still expected to train, work out and practice with the team. most soccer players are also on campus for much, if not all, of their summer vacations. During this time, they take summer school classes, exercise, and play 7v7 to stay in shape.
don’t be afraid to ask for help
the biggest obstacle to overcome in sports: time management. “The main thing is time management as a freshman; I would insist on that point,” says coach willis. he adds that if a di soccer player is going to leave his sport, it usually happens in his first year. why? because he ran into time management problems.
While a football player’s schedule is tough, athletes don’t have to face it alone (pun intended!). Coach Willis says that various staff members can help athletes figure out how to manage their time and accomplish everything they need to do. “You still have an academic advisor at that level, and he or she will know the best route for you. strength coaches also review each student-athlete’s schedule and create times when they should do strength and conditioning. manage your time very wisely and give yourself time to eat and time to study.”
to succeed in sports, you have to love the game
coach willis advises aspiring athletes to know one key thing before committing to compete at this level: understand that it’s a lot of work and most of it will be away from the spotlight and the stadiums. “You have to go in with the attitude that your sport is paying for your education and it’s a job; at the end of the day, it’s even more than a full-time job!” Coach Willis explains. “You can’t just love the idea of playing, because you’re not going to make it with that alone.”
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