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Five Ways College Softball Can Prepare You For Your Career

north georgia softball Photo by Joy Kimbrough_NCAA Photos via Getty Images.jpg
(Photo by Joy Kimbrough/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

The fall softball season is in full swing, and it can usher in mixed emotions of excitement and apprehension. For most upperclassmen, the thought of their softball careers soon coming to a close has a looming impact in the back of their minds.

Eventually, all college athletes retire from playing the sport they love and move on to different careers. This step signifies the beginning of a new chapter in their lives. While the transition from college athlete to retired athlete does not come without challenges, lessons learned from experiences in college softball can prepare you for your future career.

Faith Manning, a Covenant College softball alumna, who is now launching her career as a nurse, spoke to Softball America about how softball prepared her to succeed in the next chapter of her life.

Mental Toughness

College softball demands mental toughness out of all its athletes. From the determination it takes to complete early morning strength and conditioning workouts, to blocking out any negative thoughts on personal performance, college softball develops mental toughness.

“The long hours of practice, inevitable body aches, road trips during final exams and back-to-back doubleheaders have all contributed greatly to my success in life after college,” said Manning. “Those life experiences of physical and emotional demands from softball strengthen mental toughness, which translates to professional success. Resilience, grittiness and the toughness that softball fosters within you will all prepare you to succeed in your chosen career path.”

Teamwork And Communication Skills

The experience of working on a team is invaluable. Within a team, you develop skills of collaboration and communicating efficiently with others. Employers want to hire individuals who work well with others and contribute to a positive team dynamic, and college softball helps develop those abilities.

“My time as a college athlete helped me learn the importance of teamwork,” Manning said. “It’s taught me to respect those around me regardless of how different we may be. I have learned that teamwork can be the deciding factor in a win or loss, and to always be ready to step up when your team needs you.”

Understanding The Pressure To Perform

As a college athlete, you are constantly expected to perform under pressure. Your team practices all year to get ready for those pressure-filled moments, and when they come you can rely on the work you put in during the offseason.

The pressure does not consume you, but fuels your mind with adrenaline and the desire to perform. The environment that college softball fosters is one where athletes can thrive under pressure and that translates to the professional workplace as well. That drive to win cultivated within you does not leave you when your playing days end.

There will be moments in your career when you have to hit that sales quota, impress your boss or make a tough decision, and your prior experience as a college athlete will shine through in those moments. Experience succeeding under pressure is an indispensable attribute that will help aid in your future career success.

Time Management Skills

Any college athlete knows the importance of time management. The unique situation of a college athlete means that your priorities not only include athletics, but also academics. In order to complete everything that is expected of you as a student-athlete, you have to develop skills in time management. Learning how to prioritize tasks and learning when to say no are extremely valuable social skills needed to succeed in your career.

“Balancing your coach's expectations, academic expectations and personal expectations is challenging and makes for a difficult schedule and balancing act,” Manning said. “I quickly learned how disciplined I needed to be in order to stay on top of my schoolwork. Developing these skills as a student-athlete has contributed greatly to my success in my career.”

Leadership Skills

Being a college athlete requires leadership skills regardless of what your role on a team may be. Leadership is an important life skill that softball gives young women the opportunity to gain experience in at a young age.

“Softball taught me the importance of stepping up and leading, even if it is uncomfortable, and how to address issues head-on,” said Manning. “A leader can take on multiple forms. Some people are more vocal leaders, while others lead more by example. College softball gives players the opportunity to develop and refine their own unique leadership style, which prepares them for future leadership roles in their career.”

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