The best and worst time of year is approaching. The month of August is a time of heat waves, two practices a day, beep tests and a strange obsession with ice baths. Whether it is your first college preseason or your last, there is nothing that can truly prepare you for a month's worth of only seeing your teammates and taking power naps whenever you get the chance. Pushing your body to its limits and playing the game you love is bittersweet, even though you will probably dislike your life when you finish the beep test and go straight into small sided games. Although there is no solid advice on how to fully survive preseason because it is supposed to be a challenging time, here are some tips on what to do and not to do.
If this is your first preseason, just know it is perfectly OK to be nervous. A new environment, possibly being away from home and having to adjust to a new team and style of play can be super overwhelming. The key to entering your first year of college footy is taking it one day at a time. The first day will be a welcome move-in day and a possible captain's session just to get your legs moving before your fitness test the next day. A big do on your first day at school is always have a water bottle in hand. Hydration will be a big part of surviving preseason, even though cramps are pretty much inevitable in 100 degree heat.
Another do for preseason is bringing a foam roller or roller stick. This will be your best friend for the next few weeks as you will be rolling out any chance you get. Tired legs and injury are a soccer player's worst nightmare, so doing whatever you can to prevent injury and keeping your legs as fresh as possible is a must.
Definitely do not forget snacks. Pretzels, Goldfish, peanut butter and chocolate are much needed. After running seven miles a day and sweating more than ever, expect to be hungry 24/7. When you can’t move to go to the dining hall, it makes it much more convenient to have food right in your room.
Do not hold back anything when you are on the pitch. Your playing time at the beginning of the season depends on your performance during preseason, so you want to be sure you bring your A-game everyday.
Although preseason may be tough and there will be times you are thinking about giving up, don’t. It does get better and remember to just have fun. At the end of the day you are just playing a game and your college career will fly by with the blink of an eye. Wishing all the ballers out there the best of luck in preseason and remember to run until you can’t feel your legs and then run some more.