The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Athlete Students

Getting through life as a student athlete
Photo by Marisa Valdez

Even though the name of this column is “Athlete students,” it’s time to switch up the wording a little bit and discover life as a student athlete. 

For an athlete in college, it’s a little harder to manage everything than it is for a normal student, especially with needing to juggle academics, athletics and a social life. 

There truly needs to be a love for the sport in order to take the commitment to the next level. 

I’ve played tennis since sophomore year of high school, and I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to continue my career as a tennis player into college. It’s been a lot of work, but I wouldn’t change my decision to play as a Blugold.

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During the peak of our fall season, the team schedule was all over the place. 

While the weather was still nice, we’d practice from 4:30-6 p.m. behind the McPhee Center. Our practices consisted of running drills, working on strokes and scrimmaging teammates. Practices varied by day, with some practices just being the players and others involving our assistant coaches.

Besides practices, we’d also have strength training twice a week with a strength and conditioning coach. These workouts were typically the hardest parts of the week, especially with going straight to practice afterwards.

Even though I’ve played sports all my life, I’ve never had a set routine of working out all the time. I’d always get bored or create bad habits when I was lifting as a high school athlete which led me to stopping and not taking the time to do so anymore. 

With these lifts in college pushing me to become a better athlete, it’s been a lot easier to stay consistent with my workouts which makes me a better tennis player overall. 

Of course, the point of the lifts and practices is to prepare us for matches. 

Since I’m only a freshman, I only played exhibition matches during the fall season. Exhibition matches are matches that don’t count towards team points. It’s a way for everyone on the team to get matchplay even if they aren’t one of the top players. 

Playing in these matches have helped me ease into college play a little better while also still getting to play competitive tennis. It also allows myself and other freshmen to still feel a part of the team. 

As the fall season wraps up and the offseason is starting, it’s hard to still work hard. For anyone who’s ever experienced the offseason of a sport, it’s very mentally challenging to keep putting in time and effort for a sport that isn’t even in season. 

This just means I’ll have to get a little more creative about ways to stay in shape and work on my tennis skills. 

A few ways to do this may be hitting up the gym for lifts, going on walks around campus and heading over to the Menard Tennis Center for self-paced hitting. 

These are all options that students around campus can use to stay in shape and take a much needed break from the stress of school. There’s also plenty of intramural opportunities for those, such as myself, that prefer to get their fitness in through competitive sport. 

Even if you’re not a student athlete, there are still plenty of ways to embrace being an athlete student. 

Hokanson can be reached at [email protected].

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