Behind the scene with College Coaches: High School Senior Year-Time to Relax? Don't Fall into that Trap.
SN goes behind the scenes and asks college coaches for valuable information on how to successfully navigate the college process. Ryan Hopkins, assistant coach/goal keeper coach at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo holds his USSF “A” license and has a Master's Degree from Concordia University-Irvine in Athletic Administration. Ryan Hopkins warns soccer high school seniors about the traps of their final year!
As summer heads towards its conclusion and most high school kids are heading back to school for the fall, I thought this would be an appropriate time to give out a few helpful pointers on what high school seniors can be doing to ensure that they are as prepared as they can be to head to college in 9 months.
For most seniors the last year of high school is spent reminiscing on their time together, going to various dances/school functions, and generally just kicking back and waiting for June to hit. Unfortunately, I have seen this happen in quite a few soccer players and it is very detrimental to their development and ultimately the start of their college career.
Realistically speaking now is the time for you seniors to start preparing for the start of your college careers. With that in mind, I have put together a few helpful hints on how to better prepare yourself for the beginning of your college career.
Hint #1- Make sure you are still pushing yourself every day in your team trainings as well as finding time to tidy up parts of your game on your own. Too many seniors feel since they have reached the top of the totem pole, so to speak, that they don't have to work hard or push themselves in training. This is the exact opposite as this leads to bad training habits, and in short amount of time you will be at the bottom of that totem pole when you start college.
Hint #2- Start a weight training/speed agility program. College soccer is full of big, fast, athletic players and most freshman when they come in are ill equipped to deal with the speed and power of the college game. It's important to note here that you do not need to get really bulky and hamper your ability to move quickly. I am talking about building lean muscle and developing an explosive body composition.
Hint #3- Go and watch college soccer games in the fall to get a better feel for the college game. I can't tell you how many kids go into their first college season and have only seen a few college soccer games. How can you ever be prepared for something you have never seen before??
I think it is imperative that high school kids get a first hand look at how the college game is played - how fast it is played, and how physically demanding it is. This will help you assess the strengths and weaknesses in your own game and how you measure up to college players.
Hint #4- If you have already committed to a school, make sure you are staying in great contact with the coaches that you are going to play for so you can get a good feel of what they are doing with their team and what you need to prepare for.
Also, talk to former college players that you may know to gain some of their insights and experiences of college soccer. If you have not committed, make sure you are also staying in contact with the schools you are interested in and setting up your official visits to the schools that you have had interest from.
Don't be discouraged if coaches don't get back to you right away either. College coaches are right in the middle of their season and that is what they are focused on. Stay persistent with your communication.
Hint #5- Stay on top of your school work!!! This is where I usually see the biggest drop off for seniors.
|Ryan Hopkins celebrating with his team. There will be lots of time to celebrate when you are in the college of your dreams.
Most seniors like to just coast through their senior year, as a majority have committed and/or have been accepted to a school. I just ran into another coach the other day who lost one of his prized recruits because the recruit got a "D" in the second semester of his senior year and the school would not let the recruit in.
Please be aware that your senior year grades still matter and will be evaluated before you head off to school. Another reason to stay on top of your school is to prepare you for what college will bring. Especially those of you that will be heading off to semester schools, you will have to juggle playing soccer, going to your first semester of college, and the various social engagements that college offers all within your first two weeks of being on campus.
You will need to figure out very quickly how to manage your time (without your parents around and telling you what to do) so that you stay on top of everything.
Time management will be one of the biggest skills you will use in college. Start preparing now and learning how to budget your time appropriately.
Hopefully these helpful tips will help you seniors out there get the most out of your senior year and be a little more prepared for your freshman of college. Good luck to all of you in the fall season.
Good luck to all of you with your college search and feel free to contact me with any questions or comments that you might have.
RELATED ARTICLES: Goal Keeper Tips and Being a Better Goalie
is in his third season as an assistant coach at Cal Poly
in San Luis Obispo. Hopkins had spent 5 years before that at NAIA
powerhouse Concordia University
-Irvine and at one of the nation's elite youth soccer clubs, the Irvine Strikers
Hopkins was a two-time NAIA All-American as a goalkeeper at Concordia University-Irvine and was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2010. He currently holds his USSF “A” License and has a Master's Degree from Concordia University-Irvine in Athletic Administration. More on Hopkins