Alumni Updates: Alej Rodriguez Checks In From UChicago
Hi Coach Newman,
I hope everyone at ATA is well. Here is a quick update in response to your question on the transition from junior player to college athlete.
To begin with, the freedom one is given in college is much different than the freedom one has as a high school student. Accountability is placed solely on you for virtually every aspect of life, whereas in high school adult figures play a role in most day to day activities you partake in. Because there is no longer a parent or teacher making sure you are doing what you need to do, it is very important to learn how to prioritize your assignments and schedule them accordingly. For this reason, I would advise younger students to find ways to plan their day such as using calendar apps or day planners, as this is a very useful skill to have in college.
In terms of the practice environment, the transition to college from ATA has been very easy. Similar to ATA, the emphasis revolves around improvement as a team and everyone is very encouraging to those they are practicing with. The main difference is that this encouragement is more verbal than at ATA, and I would urge current ATA players to start practicing this type of engagement with those on their court as well as those on courts around them. Every collegiate practice is loud from start to finish, and it is important that you can contribute to that type of atmosphere comfortably and confidently.
I have felt very prepared to face the challenges that arise throughout college life due to my time at ATA and ATA CP, and I am confident current players will feel the same once they begin their collegiate journey.
Best wishes to everyone in the ATA community.