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#1 – Chase greatness and everything else will come – Too many players are too focused on getting all of the media attention and playing the popularity contest that they never develop into great players. They put more focus on those external rewards than becoming great. I’ve been a part of a BCS (now FBS) National Championship team and worked with Super Bowl Champions and Pro Bowl players, truly great athletes eventually have the world at their feet but they put 99% of their focus on being a beast on the field or court FIRST and know that everything else will come their way. Athletes who chase all of the rewards before they chase championships end up empty-handed!
#2 – The hardest part about being in a relationship while juggling school and sports is dealing with someone who brings DRAMA to your life! RUN AWAY from dating someone who is constantly picking fights or dragging negative chaos into your life, they only get you worked up, spinning in circles and wasting your energy. They genuinely don’t respect the fact that you are trying to accomplish things in your life and will only get worse when success comes your way. A non-drama, healthy relationship won’t hold you back from anything, be sure put quality effort into the time you spend with your significant other.
#3 – A majority of problems players run into are self-inflicted. Sure, there are problems you can’t help (injuries, family situations) but there are too many other factors that you CAN control. Too many players that I’ve been around have been brought down by drugs, legal issues, their relationship, laziness or a bad attitude. Be real with yourself and eliminate all of the distractions that you can eliminate. It will be challenging enough to overcome setbacks you can’t control, why purposely add extra negativity that you CAN control. If you want success, keep successful people in your circle. If you want drama, spend your time with drama! Don’t complain or blame the world when these bad habits come back and take your career away. It will happen!
#4 – Be where you are – If you are with your girlfriend, boyfriend or parents, don’t be texting, taking calls or playing video games. Spend quality time with them. If you are working on a paper, don’t spend 2 hours arguing with your girlfriend or boyfriend because a paper that can take you one hour to write will take you four or five hours or end up incomplete. Your friends and family will appreciate 100% of your attention in shorter periods of time than if you are constantly distracted or interrupted.
#5 – Just do what is asked of you the first time. I watch players go in circles all day, trying to get out of extra punishments and trouble they’ve gotten themselves into, problems they could have avoided by just doing what was asked of them in the first place. Go to class. Go to study hall. Be at practice on time. Be everywhere 5 minutes early and you won’t have to worry about detention, punishment workouts or suspensions. If you just do what is asked of you by your teachers and coaches, you will be fine. If you skip class, skip a workout, sleep in class, you will have to face the punishment and that will likely add an extra hour or two to your day.
#6 – TV/Internet– You get sucked in and will go from checking your Facebook ‘real quick’ to spending 2 hours browsing. Pretend that you are on a diet, you can only have a bite of that cake but you can’t eat the whole thing. Don’t get sucked into the couch, computer or TV for more than 15 or 20 minutes if you have a big to-do list.
#7 – Quit talking about how much you have to do and how you’ll never possibly get it done and just do it. People yap on and on about how they have too much to do and if they would just shut the door and work on a few things, they will feel a lot less pressure. Put your phone on silent, don’t log on the internet, shut your door, go to the library, find a hiding place where you can get your work done and it will eliminate some of the pressure you are feeling.
#8 – Get up an hour early – If you need extra studying or conditioning, get up at 6am and do it. You are much less likely to get distracted by others and as a bonus – it builds mental toughness. If you are can become disciplined enough to get up an extra hour or two earlier you are IMPROVING and building MENTAL TOUGHNESS!
#9 – Are you doing too much? Are you involved in too many sports, clubs, family issues, friend issues? You have to really focus on the two or three things that are really important to you and may have to give up some of the extra distractions that aren’t helping you get to where you want to go. For a week, keep track of how much you spend your time on hour-by-hour, you might be surprised.
#10 – Set a study schedule – When I was in college I tried to get to the library Monday-Thursday until 10pm, even if I had no homework due the next day. At times, the library became the hangout spot so I found a different quiet spot on campus to do my work and reading at. There is always work that you can do to get ahead. If you put in the consistent work on those days, you can enjoy the
weekend. In college it is near impossible to get any work done in the dorms, go somewhere else and you’ll drastically cut the hours you need to finish assignments and prepare, freeing up more time for YOU!
#11 – Prioritize what is important to you. When I was part of a BCS National Championship team – our coach did little outside of developing our players, self- scouting, breaking down opponents, gameplanning, recruiting and creating events or programs that would improve our team. He had his family around the facility often and his wife and kids joined us for dinner after practice sometimes. He rarely got dragged away for fundraising, marketing or other activities unless it meant a big addition to our program. School, sports, family, relationships… Write down your list of a few priorities and focus on the top things that you must have. Everything else, slowly eliminate. If it doesn’t help you improve in those areas, drop it.
#12 – Put down the video game controller – Save it for the weekend or offseason. Hours, days, weekends are wasted this way!
#13 – Get sleep when you can – Sneak in naps during the day and try to go to bed early. Sleep will help you make fewer mistakes at practice and in games and puts you in a better mood. When you are tired you are cranky and get frustrated and forgetful. It’s hard to do everything that is asked and expected of you if you are exhausted. Sneak in naps whenever you can.
#14 – Successful college and pro coaches are some of the most efficient people on the planet. They don’t waste a minute. They go from a player meeting to recruit call to film session to scheduling games for next season to planning their travel schedule to checking on their child to a budget meeting with the Athletic Director to a radio phone interview to practice without daydreaming for a minute. It takes that kind of efficiency and focus to become successful on a high level. Are there things you can eliminate from your daily schedule that can cut 10 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour? It all adds up very quickly!