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"Promoting education based athletics in Indiana"

It's not often that you get to spend quality time with a Baseball Hall of Fame athlete to ask questions and get into the conversation of what makes great athletes. Last week I had that opportunity with baseball great Carlton Fisk.

The humble Fisk played 24 years in the major leagues as a catcher and hit 379 career home runs. Ironically, Fisk attended college on a basketball scholarship at the University of New Hampshire. 

I asked Carlton if he could give me one piece of advice for today's student-athletes, what would it be? He didn't hesitate.

"Regardless of the sport, it's vital that you don't dwell on the last play, Fisk said. Whether it's your last at bat or your last jump shot, you must move on to the next play, whether the previous play was good or bad."

He later went on to tell me that especially in baseball, where you get up to five at bats in one game, it's a must that you move on after each one. Fisk had that ability to have what I call short-term memory and he didn't differentiate between the good at bats and the bad. He took it one plate appearance at a time!

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"Promoting education based athletics in Indiana"

So many great teams have great leadership from their coaches, and you can always tell how much trust the athletes have in those that are good leaders by how hard they play and how well they listen.

Tony Bennett. coach of this year's NCAA basketball champion Virginia, showed his poise and composure as Virginia trailed in each of the final three games inside the ten second mark, yet never missed a beat and won every game.

After winning, Coach Bennett saved his best words for last as he told his team the following while meeting with them in the locker room. He said "Put your arms around each other, take a look at every guy in here, look at each other.  Promise me you will remain humble and thankful for this. Don't let this change you."

Great advice from a humble and caring coach!

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"Promoting education based athletics in Indiana"

While watching the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournament over the weekend, I am reminded how tough it is to compete in team sports and how very few players meet the expectations of their fan base, win or lose.

It's no different in high school.  If you participate in a team sport, I'm sure you realize by now how important each person on your team becomes. And to be quite honest, regardless of how hard you and your teammates prepare and practice, it's a challenge to get the results that you come to expect, especially from an individual standpoint.

But that's why they keep score. One team wins and one team loses.  The winning team never gets the scrutiny that the losing team gets. Winning team members get the accolades and losing team members get all the grief.

The one thing about team sports is that you win as a team and lose as a team. While individual performances are always important, it's the ones on the winning team that people will remember. It's a good feeling to have teammates you can count on, even though a victory is never a guarantee!

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"Promoting education based athletics in Indiana" 

One of the biggest stars in this year’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament is Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu. No Player in NCAA history-male or female-has as many triple doubles as Sabrina, and she’s only a junior.

She credits much of her success to playing against older competition when she was younger. By doing so, it challenged her to develop all facets of her game, but especially her ball handling and passing.

Most successful athletes look back and see certain stages in their career where they made vast improvement. Playing against better competition is always a big stepping stone for those trying to reach their highest potential.

Don’t shy away from those that may be better than you.  By playing against the best today will help prepare you for potential success tomorrow!!

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 "Promoting education based athletics in Indiana"

With the first weekend of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament complete, the story of Murray State Racers basketball player Ja Morant is known to all basketball fans.

Lightly recruited and not ranked by major recruiting services, this 6'3" (174 lbs) skinny guard is now projected to be a top 8 pick in the upcoming NBA draft. He is the first college player in over 35 years to average 20 points and 10 assists.

According to Wikipedia.com, Ja's father said " Every parent wants their child to play at a big time program, but what I realized is, don't go where you want to be, go to where they want you."

As a high school athlete, don't let scouting services or recruiting services define your value. If you are being recruited at any level, look hard at those schools who want you and have a plan for you. Murray State was definitely the best fit for Ja!

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 "Promoting education based athletics in Indiana"

In a recent article (by Soraya Nadia McDonald) posted on the website undefeated.com there was some great advice from the mother of a young tennis phenom.

With two grand slam wins in the past year, Naomi Osaka has shot to #1 in the world women’s tennis rankings. 

Following her second Grand Slam win in a phone conversation with her mother Tamaki, she told her daughter that she just wanted her to be happy- - good life. No worries. Learn something new all the time and be a better person everyday.

There was no mention about tennis, no mention about championships.  Win or lose, what’s important to this mom (and most parents) is that her daughter have a good life and good character. Sports are fun and can be important, but they are not the most important thing in your life! (Even for the world's best)

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