Dear Collegiate Athlete,
I must start with a disclaimer, I have only been retired for three days now, so I can't quite call myself an expert on this topic. However, I have reflected a ton on my collegiate volleyball career these last three days and I have come to some conclusions that I think would be beneficial.
This time is a special time. I know sometimes it might not seem worth it at times with the early practices and the lack of a social life. However, you are getting to do something many athletes can only dream of. It doesn't matter your division, it doesn't matter your team's caliber of talent—you are playing in college. Bask in the amazing opportunity you have, because there are athletes that would do anything to be in your shoes!
Celebrate wins, because they are worth it. It's also okay to be upset about losses, especially those losses that definitely shouldn't have happened. Both will happen—rarely does anyone actually have a perfect career.
However, having a short term memory for both wins and losses is important. If you hold on to wins too closely, you might not see that you have room for improvement. This might essentially be holding you back from achieving greatness. If you only focus on losses, your confidence will go down the drain. Having a short term memory is key to being great.
Finally, make sure you can separate your sport from your identity. This means you know that this is just something you do, not who you are entirely. As someone who just recently ended their athletic career, I can tell you that this is what I am struggling with the most. I haven't yet figured out who I am without my sport, and it's a sad and dangerous place to be.
But most of all enjoy the moments! The good, the bad, and the ugly. Trust me. You will blink, and then it will suddenly be gone!
A recent retiree who already misses her athletic career dearly.