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ICYMI, Dwight Powell was traded from the Celtics to the Mavs as part of the Rajon Rondo deal yesterday.: 7 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
RT @StanfordWVB: Final: @PennStateVBALL 3, @StanfordWVB 1 Cardinal ends the season 33-2, tying for the most wins in program history. #gosta: 18 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Cardinal within one after block from Bugg and Ajanaku. A hush over the crowd in OKC as it's 20-19 PSU in the fourth, up two sets to one.: 18 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
It's getting late quickly for the Card. PSU up 18-15 in the fourth set. Another Dunning timeout, this one the most important of the year.: 18 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
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Cardinal up 10-7 in the fourth set. Down two sets to one.: 18 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Stanford has been down 2-1 three times this season, and it has a 2-1 record in those matches. (W @ Illinois, W @ Colorado, L @ Washington): 18 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Card closed to within one point on three occasions towards the end of the 3rd, but couldn't pull it out. PSU wins it 25-22, takes 2-1 lead.: 18 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
RT @jwallach12: Neither team has been able to get in a rhythm since the beginning of the first set. It's a dogfight out there. Exactly what…: 18 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
RT @dohyoungpark: This just feels like another one of those five-set marathon matches. Par for the course between these two teams.: 18 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport

Transition to college tests athletes’ patience, mental toughness

While high school student-athletes certainly dedicate a lot of time and energy to refining their craft, the collegiate lifestyle brings a new level of challenge that many incoming freshmen can find daunting and overwhelming at first. In addition to being under much more pressure to perform on a bigger, more exposed stage in front of a national audience, they must also deal with the challenges that regular college freshmen face: making friends, settling into a community and creating a niche in an unfamiliar setting.

Cardinal freshman Clay Jones, pictured above in high school, says that his practice schedule has ramped up significantly since stepping onto the Farm.

Cardinal freshman Clay Jones, pictured above in high school, says that his practice schedule has ramped up significantly since he stepped onto the Farm. (photo courtesy of Clay Jones)

It’s a tough, multifaceted adjustment, but among the many different elements many players feel that the intense workload of college athletics is one of the most difficult aspects to adapt to.

“In high school, I would practice two to three times a week,” said freshman men’s volleyball player Clay Jones. “But here, it’s five days a week…Just trying to get through the day is pretty difficult just because our practices are so long.”

The level of conditioning and intensity for athletes at Stanford is far beyond that of high school due to the increased speed and talent at the collegiate level. As a result, it is difficult for collegiate coaches to ease the transition for younger athletes, as they must facilitate the adjustment to a more rigorous load as quickly as possible in order to foster collegiate contenders.

“Our coaches are definitely all business,” said sophomore Kiran Lakhian, a former women’s basketball player. “It’s just their job to stick to basketball.”

The coaches tell a similar story of pressure and expectations.

“I think there is a lot of internal pressure,” said men’s crew assistant coach Jake Cornelius. “As coaches, we reframe what’s important.”

Perhaps even more difficult than the massive workload of a student-athlete is the mental transition for many high school stars becoming college benchwarmers. To be recruited by Stanford, athletes have to prove themselves head-and-shoulder above their high school and club competition. However, now amongst the top competitors in their respective sport, many incoming freshmen find the adjustment from superstar to second-string player a tough reality.

“[Before] we come here, we’re the best at our sport and the best in the classroom,” said junior women’s soccer player Haley Rosen, “and then we come to Stanford and we’re average at best, on a good day.”

Jones, for one, wasn’t quite ready to relinquish his stardom upon stepping on the Cardinal men’s volleyball court.

“I was expecting that I would come in right off the bat and play my best volleyball every day at practice and that I would be in peak condition,” Jones said. “That was one thing that I wasn’t prepared for: the level of play of college volleyball.”

With the four or five-year cycle of collegiate athletics constantly in motion, however, many of those student-athletes see their behind-the-scenes hard work pay off when they are eventually called upon to fill vacant spots left by departing seniors. And when they get that chance, it becomes a validation of their hard-fought — but successful — transition from a fresh-faced high school graduate to a full-time collegiate athlete.

Contact Carlie Tenenbaum at carliet ‘at’

About Carlie Tenenbaum

I’m Carlie Tenenbaum and I’m a sophomore. I’m from San Diego, born and raised, but love life up here on the Farm. I’m a political science major by day, and a sports writer off the clock. I cover field hockey, women’s lacrosse, and bits of both men’s and women’s water polo. I played both field hockey and lacrosse in high school and love staying connected to the sports through writing.