College vs. High School Sports


The Kalamazoo College football team celebrates after a great defensive stop.

Fall is the season of beginnings: beginning of school, beginning of cold weather, and, of course, the beginning of sports. Football games are one of the many exciting things about the start of the school year, especially if you’re a player. Daily practices and team bonding are experiences like no other. But how does all of that change once you graduate?

Berkley alum and freshman receiver at Kalamazoo University Ben Maurice has some insight for us. According to Ben, the biggest change from high school to college is the environment, which is “just a lot more intense with everything we do. Practices are a lot more fast-paced than high school. You have to sprint everywhere and the coaches make sure everyone is hustling. Games are a little bit different than high school because we don’t have school before the game, so everyone is just locked in,” Maurice explains. Players need to be able to push away fatigue or low self-esteem and just give the best performance possible. According to College Athlete Insight, college athletes say that being mentally strong in college is just as important as physically strong. Being “locked in” is almost necessary to survive in the world of college football.

One of the most important things in any team is the family aspect. A football team is made up of brothers. Maurice says “During camp, we were with each other 24/7, so it was easy to get closer to a lot of the guys. Everyone is focused on helping the team win and playing for each other, so it’s a great culture to be a part of.” Having a supportive team is such a vital piece of playing sports, so it’s not surprising that this aspect remains after high school.

Since college football possesses a greater amount of talent, there are noticeably bigger challenges and higher stakes. This makes for a very different team structure than in high school. On that, Maurice tells us “In college, everyone is there because they’re really good at football, so it’s very competitive. There are more coaches than in high school, which makes it very different. Now, instead of having seven or eight coaches for the entire team, we have multiple coaches at each position helping the players get better.”

Graduating from high school to college also comes with its fair share of challenges and adversity. Maurice’s biggest challenge was “adapting to the new environment with people I didn’t know very well, but the coaches and players do a great job of making sure everyone gets to know each other and feels welcomed.” USA Today says that while college football does come with plenty of challenges, the football team is a family. Teammates welcome each other onto the team and help freshmen feel more comfortable in an environment that can be very uncomfortable. Of course, every high school football player’s dream is to play in college–Maurice achieved that dream. According to him, the coolest thing about playing college football is “just to see all the hard work I put in during high school payoff. Not many people get to play college football and it’s very cool to be able to say that I do.”

The high school football environment is intense, but rewarding. Every game feels like a big event, but Ben emphasizes that college is even bigger. Not only are there way more coaches and players, but the competition is more. College football offers Ben and many other players a supportive and active environment to compete in their sport that they are highly passionate about. So if you are looking to further excel at your sports talent, a college career may be the right fit for you!