3 Tips for Student-athletes Who Struggle With Grades and Social Life

 You know those mornings when you wake up and your body is sore from head to toe after the sprints you did the day before. You need to get ready in 5 minutes because you are almost late to class since you hit the snooze button at least three times. Half dead you leave the room and head to the day full of classes and practices right after that. Before you know it it’s 8pm, you find out you forgot to even eat and by the time you get to homework it’s 10pm.

This is a very typical day for most student-athletes across the nation. It doesn’t matter what division you play, student-athletes are superheroes! They are known to be phenomenal at time management, prioritizing, and putting on a good face even though inside they are exhausted. In order to fully understand what it’s like, one must just try this life himself.

It’s extremely easy for student-athletes to drop their grades or become isolated from any social or personal life. However, since athletics play a big role in the pride of schools, athletes need to strive for impersonation of perfection.

In order to keep your head straight on and off the field, court, course, etc. here are some tips that all student-athletes can use in everyday life to improve their game, grades, relationships and life.

1. Routine, routine, and more routine

Being a student-athlete usually forces you to have a daily routine, which really is the best thing for you. Keeping a daily routine keeps your work, practice and social life in order. You can stay organized with to-do lists, plus we all know how good it feels to cross out the things you finished. Along with a to-do list, you can have a list of priorities, placing the least important thing at the bottom, knowing that you might not get to it that day, but always trying to get the first things on the list accomplished. Having a hundreds things on your schedule is overwhelming and it’s easy to forget about some. Having it in writing in front of you (maybe hung on the wall), will put a bit of a pressure to get it done and also serve as a reminder, so you won’t forget anything important.

2. Ask your coaches

Often times, student-athletes are too afraid of their coaches and building a more personal relationship with them doesn’t seem like an option. Don’t be scared of your coach. In most cases, they were student-athletes once too and they know exactly what it’s like, including all the struggles you might be experiencing. The duty of your coach is to be your mentor, so put it in use. Whether it’s a problem with school, grades, professors or even personal life, don’t be scared to share your concerns with your coach. You might find that he/she understands you much better than you thought. Try to use your coach as a resource for answers for more areas than just athletics.

3. Meal time­ is friends time

During the season it is hard to make time for friends other than teammates. If your roommates are non-student-athletes and you find yourself never seeing them, then the solution is to make meal time a friends time. Every student-athlete should be eating at least three meals a day, so why not utilize your time and eat with your friends you never see. Set up breakfast, lunch or dinner dates with your non-athlete friends to catch up on life. This tip not only gets you into good eating habits but also lets you talk about other things than sports and have a social life.

4 Things You Want to Know About College Dorms

4 Things You Want to Know About College Dorms

Do you think about questions like: What if I can’t stand my roommate? How will we deal with dormroom hookups? What’s it like to shower in co-ed bathrooms? These are some of the many questions you’ll be faced with as you move out from your parents into a hall packed with hundreds of other freshmen with little to no experience living away from home. How can you make sure you get along with your new neighbors?

1. Freedom is the key

Your roommate isn’t going anywhere. Don’t feel like you have to blow off other people to hang out with your roommate and ensure that you have an extremely close relationship. At the end of the day, you’ll be coming back to the same tiny space, so you may welcome any chance of escape. Similarly, don’t be offended if your roommate has other friends; just because you live together doesn’t mean you have to act like a married couple.

2. Don’t fear the co-ed bathrooms

One of the things I was most anxious about when considering college dorm life was the seemingly inevitable co-ed bathrooms. Though it may seem strange and awkward to share bathrooms with many other adolescent youths, the unease and embarrassment definitely does not last long. And knowing that everyone else is on the same boat with you, makes it a lot easier to deal with.

3.  Think outside the boxes

One thing that I wish I knew before I came to college that I know now is how many boxes and storage containers I would need. Freshman dorms in general are tiny and students need to do what they can in order to maximize the small amount of space that they have. This means bringing a lot of boxes to store things under the bed is crucial! Parents always think that this is a great idea but now they are actually right!

4. Give dorms a chance

The dorm experience is a must-have. If you have considered skipping out on dorm life, DO NOT DO IT. This is an essential part of your growth as a student. It’s also the best way to meet new people. You might have a psycho for a roommate, but you might also meet your lifelong best friend. I only did one semester in the dorms and I really regret that. I’m not saying spend all four years there, but give it a shot for a year.


John Isner reflects on college years: ”If I hadn’t played for four years at Georgia, I don’t think I would be where I was now”

James Blake isn’t the only younger player who is making a strong case for going to college before going to the pros. Two of his former opponents are making waves on the pro circuit as well: Georgia’s John Isner and Illinois’ Kevin Anderson. Isner, who was named the 2007 Farnsworth/ITA National Senior Player of the Year, finished his senior year ranked No. 2 in the nation. Before leaving his Bulldog teammates, Isner helped lead them to a perfect 32-0 season, and two national team titles. Isner also racked up one national singles title, three national doubles titles, and was named an ITA All-American four times in his career at UGA. Since turning pro in June of 2007, he has climbed all the way to the top 10 ATP!

Isner opens up about his choice of going to college:

“For me, to tell you the truth, I never even thought about going pro [after high school],” Isner said. “If I didn’t go to college, I really don’t even know if I would be playing tennis now. A lot of players leave high school and go straight to the pros, and they don’t make it and don’t have success, so they burn out after two or three years. For sure, if I hadn’t played for four years at Georgia, I don’t think I would be where I was now.”

Isner also drew on his time at Georgia to help him prepare for the biggest matches of his career. While he admitted that winning a lot of matches in college gave him confidence to take on the toughest professional players in the world, Isner recalled that it was the pressure-packed situations that helped him keep his cool on Center Court.

“Playing at Georgia, we’ve always played in front of huge crowds, especially in May,” Isner said. “There was a lot of pressure on us as a team to play well because we were expected to win. Obviously playing Andy [Roddick] in an ATP final, there’s a lot of pressure, but I don’t think it compares at all to playing in NCAA’s at Georgia, with five or six thousand people watching you play. Every match was pressure packed, and I was able to stay calm and play my game. Playing at Georgia helped out because that was playing for the team, and that’s a lot more pressure to succeed: you don’t want to let your team down.”

While at Georgia, Isner underwent a lot of physical changes as well. The 6’9” right-hander admits that his time as a Bulldog helped him become the physical force we see on the court today, as he put on over 40 lbs.

“[College] was the best preparation I could have ever asked for,” Isner said. “In those four years, I had unbelievable coaching with Coach Diaz. I learned so much mentally, and I got so much stronger physically. Coming out of high school I was tall, skinny, and gangly, not strong and not mature. I was none of that. I had to go to college and get stronger. I had to start growing out instead of up.”

This trend doesn’t look to be stopping any time soon: while Blake, Isner and Anderson all made it to the top 10 ATP. Their incredible journey indicates the wave of success from college to the pros.



“I would not trade those years for anything, even more success on tour”

The characters may change, but the story remains the same: a promising young
tennis player picks up a racket and falls in love with the game. The family makes
sacrifices, driving to junior tournaments across the country, tracking rankings
and tournament wins. Eventually, they head for warmer climates, a tennis
academy, and the chance to play the sport year-round to develop their game.
When tennis is all you think about, it’s easy to encourage dreams about playing
with the pros, taking the court with stars. And so at a young age, these young
adults forgo college and make the choice to turn pro. But the reality is that those
same young players rarely make an impact at pro tournaments.
There is increasing pressure on young athletes to seek out competition on a
professional level, whether they are ready to or not. And many junior players
think that their only road to the big leagues is a direct one, deciding to go pro
directly out of high school. But there are again an increasing number of
professional tennis players who are making a stop along the way: college. And
college tennis has helped some of today’s brightest young stars bring their game
up to the next level, where they are finding success they would otherwise have
not attained.
The most recognizable and most successful former college player in the pros is
none other than James Blake. Blake attended Harvard before making his pro
debut. He became Harvard’s first-ever freshman All-American, and was the ITA
National Player of the Year his sophomore year. Since then, Blake has slowly
been working his way up the rankings, reaching as high as No. 4 ATP. He as well
has a best-selling book about his life and tennis career, and was named the 2005
ATP Comeback Player of the Year. Blake credits Harvard for helping him to
establish a solid foundation before heading into the pros.
“If I had to do it again, I would definitely attend Harvard all over,” Blake said. “I
learned so much in the classroom and outside of it; that the experience will
always be invaluable to me. I also felt like I grew as a person so much in those
years that it prepared me for an independent lifestyle. I would not trade those
years for anything, even more success on tour.”


In case you were wondering how college coaches evaluate your athletic skills before even inviting you for a school visit and meeting you in person, here is the answer: through your highlight VIDEO.

When you are playing around with the idea of playing college sports, you should definitely start putting together pieces of your athletic performances rather sooner than later. The good news is that college coaches do not really care about how professionally the video is filmed or edited. They are not expecting any special effects or anything you would not be able to do yourself. Honestly, all they care about is to see you in action to get a rough idea about your level as an athlete to see if you would be worth the next step.

The one thing you should focus on though, is what moments you choose for the footage. It can get pretty difficult to get a tape from an actual game sometimes, so feel free to film yourself even at practice or friendly games. The more footage you gather, the more material you will have to play with while editing it.

Coaches are not looking for an hour-long movie when looking you up. Putting together the best moments that represent your character as an athlete can be conducted into a short 5 to 8 minute video. Trust me, even the most interested coaches will most likely stop the video after 8 minutes, because it is something that they usually do in their spare time between practices or so. The trick is to catch their attention within the first minute, so MAKE SURE TO PUT YOUR BEST FOOTAGE IN THE VERY BEGINNING to make them want to see more of you.

Although, it requires some time to put the video together, think of it as a key that will open the door to your future in America. Having a presentable video with your highlights makes it a lot easier for StAR crew to work out the best deal for you in the college world!

Petra Jurova


As usually preferred, let’s start with the bad,

Student-athletes are stressed out
Although this may not be news to many athletes, in college, student-athletes really need to pull out their extra powers at times. Balancing schoolwork and athletic responsibilities, student athletes often report more stress than non-athletes. Student life can be stressful enough, but according to Athletic Insight’s Study, student athletes reported higher than usual stress in several variables, including: having lots of responsibilities, not getting enough time for sleep, and having demanding extracurricular activities. However, athletes do enjoy lower stress in some variables, like social isolation and satisfaction with their physical appearance.

College athlete may soon be paid
The most surprising and exciting fact for college athletes is that they may actually be paid for playing at some point in the near future. Many student-athletes expressed their opinion that collegiate players are being exploited by not receiving money. A legal movement started a few months ago to ensure that the law about paying student-athletes will change, so make sure to be on-board with StAR asap!


1. You may find more money in Division II and Division III

A large number of these schools are privately owned smaller colleges and they often give merit awards for student accomplishments. Although Division III schools are not allowed to award athletic scholarships, according to US News & World Report, some of the best scholarships for athletes come from these schools. It may sound confusing, but the merit grants from these colleges can often cut tuition by more than half which is an equivalent of some athletic scholarships in Division I.

2. The NCAA has specific academic requirements

There are multiple requirements you have to follow if you wish to proceed to play collegiate sports. Being a great athlete might get you the ticket to the team, however you need to be aware that the academic part also plays a big part in getting accepted to college. After graduating high-school, you even need to pay attention in what competition you participate to be able to sustain your “amateur status” and be eligible to compete in college. The NCAA has specific and even strict academic and athletic requirements. To stay on track with the requirements, StAR – Student Athletes Recruitment ere to help you with consulting any concerns and make sure you take the right steps.

3. Coaches sometimes don’t follow the practice limits

Unfortunately, coaches tend to mistaken the student-athlete’s identity as simply an athlete. An NCAA study reported that often, coaches do not follow the 20 hour per week limit on practice time set by NCAA law. More time in practice means less time in class and fewer opportunities to study, taking precious academic time away from student-athletes who may be struggling with schoolwork. However, as unfair as it sounds, you need to be prepared to do some extra work on and off the field if you want to be successful in college.


Petra Jurova


As an athlete, finding a college to play for may seem like that is all that matters, when deciding what school to go to. But, the reality is that you need to think about the major you will choose, and academics just as much as athletics. Thinking about what you want to study and possibly do after college is a big plus when deciding what school is the best fit for you.


Once you reached the dream of playing college sports, you have to be prepared to do everything to stay on the team. Being excellent in your sports however is not enough. Student-athletes are required to keep up their grades in order to keep competing. If you fall behind academically and do not meet academic standards, you will be unable to compete and could eventually occur at a risk of losing scholarship.


When picking where you are about to spend the next 4 years of your life, you need to consider many aspects. First, find out what recourses the school has to assist athletes. Look into the academic part as well and see what extra help the school provides for student-athletes, in terms of tutoring, flexibility of professors, etc. Most importantly though, make sure you think about the environment and place where you want to spend your next few years. The location of your college matters. If you feel that you would do better in a sunny and hot environment, you would want to choose a school that is on the coast. If instead you do well in more dry and colder areas, Florida probably wouldn’t be the perfect location for you.

Again, you are about spend most likely 4 years in once place, so choose wisely about what fits you the best and where you will be the happiest – only then you can focus on building your success and shaping the best version of yourself.


Petra Jurova

Daniele and his first American day

To read the article in its original version you can go directly to Daniele’s blog, here.

August 8, 2016: the day has come. I am heading toward Milan, where my first intercontinental flight is going to take off: my new life at the other side of the world is waiting for me.

Milan-Munich-Charlotte the itinerary. Last “goodbyes” to my family and I am ready to leave, aware that from now on it is going to be completely up to me: I either fail or succeed – and I do love this.

I am here. I am in the Ufreshman_retreat__50SA. The dream country has a new Italian man, fellas!
Not so fast. A line of two hundred people is waiting for their documents to be revised. Oh man, I think, I just stepped here and the first person I have to talk to is an officer. I start building up sentences in my head, but at this time I feel like I have forgotten everything I used to know about English. Where are those eight years of English gone now that I need them? It was waaaaay easier when I just had to answer my teacher’s questions. Photo, digital fingerprint, passport, visa, and an infinite number of questions: my first American test is successful – I am free to go. I walk on looking for the exit, and right there, waiting for me, is my coach. “How you doing Danny? Nice to meet you!”, his first words.

We have started the car and are now on our way to Salisbury, the city where Catawba College is located. Forty-five minutes of enjoyable conversation and there it is, the campus. As soon as I get out of the car, five guys approach me, asking to go play with them. Me and these guys – who I will later call “the boys” because teammates – img-20170203-wa0008will be balling out later on during season. As for now, though, I am more concerned about trying to understand what the heck they are saying. Is this English? I feel like I am listening to five different languages! What a sad story are the accents when you are a novice… America, Australia, England, Germany, Iceland, and many more to come. What can I do at this point? Just asking two, three, four, and even five times to repeat. This inexperience with the language is going to give birth to such funny moments that my mates, today, still like to bring up when they try to tease me (thick skin, sorry lads). But these are different stories, and there is plenty of time to tell them all.