My coaches, trainers, teammates, & fellow student-athletes provided an amazing support group. It was obvious from day one that the college had a vested interest in our academic success & our athletic success. SUNY Plattsburgh required all incoming student-athletes to take a class called “CHAMPS: Life Skills for Student-Athletes.” Every Monday, Wednesday, & Friday at 8am, 120 freshmen piled in to a lecture hall for class, our very first undergraduate experience.
Though not challenging academically, in terms of learning skills to succeed as a student-athlete, the class was invaluable. We discussed topics like time management, dealing with media, unruly fans, & NCAA rules & regulations. Lecturers included our athletic director, head trainer, NCAA compliance officer, & each team’s head coach. As an attendance-based class, it was also a good GPA booster. CHAMPS added to my overall academic experience & was a good supplement to my on-field experience. It helped to validate a lot of the experiences awaiting me in the years following, especially as it related to time-management and scheduling.
Unfortunately, the class was the first & last time the athletic department went above and beyond to prepare student-athletes for a pretty unique lifestyle. For 4 or more years, students tailor their entire daily schedule around the sport they play. Team practice schedule dictates available time slots for students to schedule classes. Upon graduation, this lifestyle ends abruptly.
Without a structured schedule set by a coach or team leaders, athletes slip away from physical activity. CHAMPS gave me the skills to succeed while I was in school, but what it didn’t prepare me for is the transition out of my life as Brandon “the lacrosse player” to Brandon “the working professional.” I’d have to make this transition myself. How can college athletes like me continue their physical, athletic life without the rigors of a team-imposed schedule? It’s a problem the NCAA tackles in this article, encouraging athletes to change their perspective & strategy, which is exactly what I had to do.
I have friends, mostly former teammates, who challenge my new perspective. They ask me questions like, “Why do you want to work out with a bunch of moms?” or “Do you even lift, bruh?” The truth is Brandon “the lacrosse player” needed to lift because it was a team requirement. Brandon these days needs to keep himself physically active…and he can do it any way he chooses.
It has been very humbling for me to accept my role in our community. Movements & exercises that resonate with me may not have the same effect on my team/clients. I’ve had to learn new ways of explaining these things, but in doing that I have found a sustainable activity. I don’t need anyone to tell me where to be or what to be doing. I know that when I need my team to workout, they’ll be at Method 360 waiting. So the next time you meet someone who is an athlete or a former athlete, challenge them to become a part of our Method 360 team. They may need it more than you’ll ever know.