Maite Sturm | College Field Hockey | The Life as a Student-Athlete

Maite Sturm

Sport Fieldhockey
University Virginia Commonwealth University
Major Bachelor in Business

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO PLAY COLLEGE SOCCER?

Friends of mine told me about their experiences and how great it is to combine their studies with their sport. I also wanted to gain experience abroad and develop as a person. I never thought at the beginning that I would stay in the U.S. for 4.5 years, but for me it was the best decision I ever made.

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY AS A STUDENT-ATHLETE LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

A typical day during the season looked like this:

8.00: get up and get ready for strength training.

9.00-9.50: Strength training with the team

10.15-12.45: field hockey practice with the team

Get snacks and smoothie from the snack bar (athletes only)

Shower and get ready for college

Afternoon (14.00-18.30): attend two to three lectures and complete homework assignments

Evening (18.30-20.30): meet with girlfriends in the Dining Hall or cook something yourself at home

22.30: go to bed

WHAT WAS YOUR ACADEMIC EXPERIENCE LIKE AS A STUDENT-ATHLETE?

My experience was very good. What I really liked was that the uni classes were coordinated with the training. That means I didn’t miss any training or lectures. During the season, you might miss some lectures due to traveling away from home, but that’s not a problem for the professors because they always support varsity athletes. Also, as a student-athlete you have your own Academic Advisor who helps you with all things Academic (e.g. course selection, course registration, questions regarding professors). My professors were also all great and knew me or the Stundet-Athletes and were always considerate of my busy schedule.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE TRAINING AND FACILITIES?

The training is definitely different than in Germany. In the U.S., training is much more frequent and longer, and there is a big focus on game forms, situational behavior on the court (defense and offense), and how to get better as a team.

The facilities in the US are excellent. During my 4.5 years at VCU, there were always renovations and upgrades and it made you feel like a professional athlete. For example, each sports team has their own locker room and athletes could use the Gym, Athletic Training Room (Physio), Study Hall, and Snack and Smoothie Station at any time.

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL COLLEGE GAME DAY LOOK LIKE?

For me, the games usually started at 1pm (Sundays) and 3pm (Fridays). For example, here’s what the schedule looked like for a 1 p.m. game:

8.30: get up

10.00: Team meets for breakfast (at the beginning of the week you always order your food for the game days)

11.15: team meets in the locker room and gets ready together

11.30: game preparation with the coaches

11.55: drive to the court with team buses (about 5 minutes drive)

12.15: start with the warm-up

12.55: run-in and national anthem

13.00: start of the game

14.45: run-out and stretching

15.00: drive back to the locker rooms, change clothes and get food and protein shakes from the coaches

WHY COLLEGE SPORTS?

FIELDHOCKEY

Train daily at the highest level and compete with up-and-coming athletes from around the world.

EDUCATION

The USA offers you the best universities in the world: the academic content and methods are first-class and internationally recognized.

DEVELOPMENT

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to develop personally in a short period of time: gain experience with other cultures and learn perfect English.

CAREER

One thing is for sure: You will stand out positively for future employers with your international education.

DID YOU HAVE ACCESS TO PHYSICAL THERAPISTS?

Yes, I always had access to a physio, whether you were injured or not. My team even had its own physio. That means he only took care of the field field hockey players. My physio was actually always available and accessible, meaning before practice, during practice, and after practice. The physio was also at every game and every away trip.

SUMMARIZE YOUR COLLEGE EXPERIENCE IN AMERICA

My time in college was the best time of my life. I was able to develop as a field hockey player while also earning a bachelor’s degree in business. I also met a lot of great people, got to know the culture better, traveled to some great cities (e.g. Washington DC, Chicago, Boston, Philly, Las Vegas) and developed tremendously as a person. Looking back, what I liked most was the American student life and the atmosphere on campus.

WHY WOULD YOU RECOMMEND OTHER ATHLETES TO GO TO THE USA?

In my opinion, nowhere in the world can you combine studying and sports as perfectly as in the USA. It’s a unique opportunity to study in the U.S. and practice your sport at the same time. In addition, the support at American universities is enormous and field hockey in particular is one of the top sports among women.

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