The NLI is signed! But… this is not the end of the process for you– it’s just the beginning:
#1– No matter how talented you are, you didn’t get to this point alone. Now is the time to thank your parents, siblings, coaches, family members, mentors, teammates and friends who have helped and supported you along the way.
#2– No matter how long you’ve been wanting to move far, far away and leave everyone behind… you WILL get homesick! Don’t burn too many bridges on your way out, you’ll be back!
#3– Everything that the sweet-talking coaches have told you to this point about starting jobs and playing time… throw it out the window. You’re going to have to earn playing time and a starting job… and they may not come for a couple years.
#4– When you think back in 20 years, you won’t remember what type of gear you got, how many times you were on TV, what kind of media hype you got. All you will remember are the relationships with your teammates and coaches.
#5– Whether you are eating a steak on charter flights, flying all around the country or bussing for eight hours and eating boxed lunches on road trips – these are the memories you will remember years from now! Being a part of any college team is a blessing!
#6– The ‘Golden Rules’ for freshmen:
– Be 5-10 minutes early for everything (class, practice, weights, meeting, treatment, study hall)
– Just do what is asked of you the first time
– Chase greatness and the rest (media attention, popularity, hype) will follow. Players who chase everything else first never find true success
#7– Many of you will end up redshirting or riding the bench next year. No matter what a coach tells you during the recruiting process, they really don’t 100% know where you will fit in on the depth chart until after pre-season workouts are over. Greatness takes time and it’s not about how quickly you become a starter, it’s about what you accomplish over your career!
#8– Your social media not only has your name attached to it but also “student-athlete at _________ University” behind it now! Know that your tweets and pics can end up on ESPN, on the Athletic Director’s desk, in your head coaches’ texts messages or opponents’ lockerroom within minutes.
#9– There are eyes and ears all over campus and town and nearly anything negative that you do will get back to your coaches. Once on a university campus, you can’t hide.
#10– The people who will be most involved in your transition when you arrive on campus are your position coach, strength coach, academic counselor and athletic trainer. Get to know them, talk to them on a personal level and appreciate them!
#11– There is a good chance your head coach or the coach who recruited you won’t be there during your entire career. Changes will happen on the staff every year, so your attitude will determine who well you handle these changes.
#12– You may be on your own for the first time in your life and facing adult decisions – are you ready to become a parent? I’ve worked with athletes almost every year who are thrust into parenthood – make your choices wisely!
#13– Some of the most selfish people I know were in TEAM situations. It’s not always about you! Trust me, it’s much more fun to win as a team than to be a superstar on a losing team!
#14– Where you are rated RIGHT NOW plays no role in how you’ll finish your college career – high or low.
#15– No one player, no one person is bigger than the university. If you can’t follow university rules and find yourself in trouble – understand they will never sacrifice the college’s reputation for you. And sometimes you may not even get the chance to explain yourself!
#16– No matter how frustrated you may get, realize that you are one of the few who is lucky enough to graduate college debt-free!
#17– How you handle winning and losing will carry over to your adult life. Learning how to handle adversity on the field/court will help you as an adult with family, career and money issues.
#18– Take the time to just enjoy being a college kid! Enjoy the times in the dorms, study groups, dining hall, student activities, class, other sporting events. Be a regular student!
#19– Some of you 5-star athletes will never make a significant impact on your team because you lack a 5-star work ethic! At the college level, it’s not just good enough to be talented – you must WORK!
#20– Some of you will get injured. This could all end tomorrow… so ENJOY IT!
#21– Don’t be so hard on yourself! This is supposed to be fun, right?!?! Believe in yourself and keep working.