Are you a goal-oriented person? As a student-athlete, do you set reasonable goals for yourself in the classroom and in your sport of choice? Are you one that gives up easily, or do you fight until the end to see your goals finished?
The goal of every minor league baseball player is to make it to the big leagues. Guilder Rodriguez played for thirteen years in the minors. Last week he was called up to the major leagues for the very first time with the Texas Rangers. His dreams finally came true.
At most sporting events, the national anthem is played before the start of the game. How do you show your respect for the flag and our great country?
Do you stand at attention? Do you put your hand on your heart? Before your sporting event, does your coach or team captain encourage the team to do something uniformly?
Last week while watching the Indianapolis Colts game, I noticed quarterback Andrew Luck, hand on heart, singing the anthem as it was being played.
Positive role models are alive and well. Remember, others will be watching you!
Have you ever heard the saying "that it is much better to be a solution to a problem, rather than being the problem itself"?
This statement holds true in the classroom, the field of play, and in everyday life.
The achieving student-athlete finds ways to solve problems. Are you good at finding solutions and working your way through a difficult time or experience? Are you a problem solver, or do you tend to cause more problems than you would like to admit?
The next time you are facing a tough decision or problem, think of yourself as finding the solution, and encouraging your classmates and teammates to do the same!
How is the spirit at your high school? Do you attend sporting events other than the ones that you participate in? Do you socialize with those outside of your sports?
School spirit and school unity depends on every student-athlete to be involved. Make it a habit to support the band, the choir, school plays, and any other activities in your school. By doing so, you are showing that all events at your school matter, not just those on Friday or Saturday nights.
Are you doing your part? Show your school spirit by being a spectator as well as being a participant!
Today's student-athlete is no different than those of yesteryear. If you make poor choices you will be held accountable and punished for them.
Most kids think they can do questionable things and get away with them. Someone is likely watching and you will more than likely get caught. You know right from wrong, as well as the rules of your student and sports handbooks.
All students are expected to abide by the rules, but let’s face it, the student-athlete is always held to a higher standard. Representing yourself in a positive way will benefit you, your school, your family and your community!
What kind of body language do you display when you are playing your sport? Do you wear your emotions on your sleeves, or are you stoic and hard to read?
Most athletes get excited during positive or negative plays during a game. The key is to make those emotions short-lived and being able to move on to the next play.
Positive body language tends to inspire a team and the coaching staff. Negative body language does just the opposite. Set the right example for yourself and your teammates. Even if things aren't going your way, don't let the opponent know!
All teams will suffer a tough loss sometime during their season. A string of losses becomes known as a losing streak. The question becomes how do you stop the losing, or overcome that tough loss?
Have a short term memory (both in winning and losing), work harder in practice, listen to your coach, and don't point fingers at the others on your team.
Sometimes you just might be the inferior team. Don't think about the end result. Instead, focus on the things that you can do to make your team better.
A few weeks ago a Hall of Fame baseball player from the past, Ernie Banks, passed away. Known as "Mr. Cub", Banks had the reputation of being the ultimate professional, even though his team, the Chicago Cubs, never won the pennant.
In an article in Sports Illustrated, writer Rich Cohen paid tribute to Banks and his fabulous career. "Too much is made of the winners; it's the losers that show you how to live."
Banks wasn't a loser, his teams just couldn't win it all. He thrilled the fans of Chicago every day for over 20 years with his hustle, ability, attitude, and enthusiasm for the game that has never been surpassed by any other Cub player!
This past week the IHSAA suspended two basketball teams for the remainder of the year because of poor conduct and unacceptable behavior during a game. Players, coaches and officials all share responsibility in preventing this brawl.
Any student-athlete participating in high school sports knows that teams and individuals are successful because of their skills, not intimidation. There is no place in high school sports for cheap shots and trash talking, let alone fans and players rushing the court.
As an athlete, it's your responsibility to keep your composure at all times, regardless of the situation. Never let your emotions and actions outweigh the significance of sportsmanship and fair play!
Finding a balance between enjoying success and then refocusing for your next challenge is not a simple dilemma.
While you want to enjoy your successes along the way, it is also very important to move forward and face the next challenge with the same enthusiasm and confidence that made you successful before.
Former soccer great Mia Hamm may have the best philosophy. "Celebrate what you've accomplished, but always raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed."
The NCAA basketball tournament tips off this week and the Kentucky Wildcats will be the number one seed and the team to beat.
But this tournament is no different than the high school tournament in your sport. While there may be a big favorite, there will be upsets and story lines along the way that people will talk about in the years ahead.
Don't settle for what others think or predict when your tournament takes place. Don't be over confident in games you should win, and don't be intimidated if you are the underdog.
At the end there will be only one team standing. Why can't that be your team someday!
While watching the NCAA tournament this past week, it's evident that college athletes and their teams have a huge advantage when it comes to controversial calls and the use of instant replay.
In high school, once the call is made there is no recourse. Are you able to move on to the next play? Do you argue with officials?
Keep yourself focused and be sure to move on. Whether it's a line call in tennis, holding in football, a called strike in baseball, or a block-charge in basketball, officials are going to miss some close calls.
How you bounce back is more important than complaining about a questionable call!
Are you a student-athlete who occasionally disagrees with your coach? It is not uncommon and as you interact with other adults you will find that differing points of view can be healthy.
Most importantly it is key that you learn to take the initiative (not your parents) and have a one on one discussion to express your concerns and share your perspective.
Hopefully both you and your coach will feel better after the conversation. Your coach has the ultimate authority, but you will be learning a valuable lesson about accepting direction from the person in charge.
It's funny how fame works. A week ago few people knew the name Grayson Allen, unless you were a Duke basketball fan. Now he is known throughout basketball circles in America.
One game and how things can change. When opportunity knocks on your door, will you be ready to take advantage of it? Will you be prepared? Grayson was. He was averaging 4 points per game prior to his national title game performance. When Coach K called his number, he responded.
If you are a substitute or role player for your team, are you going to respond when you are called upon? You may not be in the national spotlight, but your goal should be the same. When you get your chance, be ready to capitalize on your opportunity!
"Good habits are hard to form and easy to live with. Bad habits are easy to form and hard to live with."
This quote by Brian Tracy holds true in all walks of life, and especially for the student-athlete.
Do you have good study habits and practice habits? What type of good habits are you trying to perfect away from school? Get the picture?
Work on those habits that will benefit you both for today and the future. Good habits will carry you a long way in all of your endeavors!
PGA golfing great Tom Watson has said that he liked to picture legend Sam Snead's swing when the heat was on.
The same can be said for whatever sport you play. When the pressure is on, visualize an athlete that excels under pressure, and picture his/her success in your mind.
When you get nervous or jittery, think about this technique to calm you down and get you relaxed. Regardless of what routine you use, do so with a positive mindset that produces positive results. Sometimes, seeing is believing!
A recent tweet from Indianapolis Star sportswriter Kyle Neddenriep stated that it "Seems obvious but crazy how much opinion of a player can change based on body language. Positive or negative."
Regardless of your sport, or time of season, college coaches are forming opinions of your skills and attitude. Sure their opinion is based first on your ability to play, but not far behind comes your attitude - seen in your body language.
Whether it's during a high school game, club sports or AAU, college coaches form an opinion of you based not only on your ability, but how you interact with your coach, teammates and officials. Make sure you take control of the one thing you can control, and that’s your body language. It might just be the difference-maker!