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"Promoting education based athletics in Indiana"

Are you an athlete that works hard but still comes up short when it comes to having all the skills necessary to be an elite player? If so, you are not alone. In fact, I would say most high school athletes mature later than they desire.

If that is the case, what can you do to give yourself an advantage over others with the same issue? Besides the obvious of extra workouts and time spent in the weight room, what else could work to your advantage?

The mental part of your sport is the one thing that can set you apart from others. What if you could start each game or individual sport with a lead? Now I have you thinking, right?

A coach was recently quoted as saying this exact thing about a player who was lightly recruited because of his athleticism. He stated his player's intelligence means he "always starts the race with a lead." He ended up with a Division I scholarship.

Don't underestimate the importance of knowing the inside and out of your particular sport. That intellect could help you gain a bigger advantage than you ever imagined!

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"Promoting education based athletics in Indiana"

In a recent interview for Golf magazine, PGA professional Jason Day spoke about the challenges on the tour, he talked about how to stay motivated and also the obstacles he and others face on a weekly basis.

Playing high school sports is not much different.  Every athlete faces challenges sometime during their season.

"I've been on the tour for 12 years, Day said. I've won 12 times. It's a grind every single season-if you want to be good. Some years it's hard to stay on top of it. Others, it seems easy to work your butt off."

Regardless of your grade, sometimes during a season or the school year, your sport can become a grind.  It's normal, it's natural, so don't think you are out there all alone. It's part of the process of being an athlete, whether you are high school age or a professional!

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"Promoting education based athletics in Indiana"

Part of becoming a strong-minded student-athlete is learning how to deal with the ups and downs of competition.  You aren't going to win every time you go out, and you aren't going to perform up to your highest expectations every time you compete.


When things are going well, you are content and happy.  Everything seems to fall in place. However, when the flip side happens and you are struggling and looking for answers, who do you turn to?

I truly believe that when things aren't going your way, dig down inside yourself and learn how to make your own happiness. For example, if you aren't getting the playing time you thing you deserve, be thankful and happy that you are at least part of the team. In other words, find something positive about your current situation.

Feeling sorry for yourself and pointing fingers at others doesn't accomplish a thing. Instead, find one positive from a negative situation and be happy about it and move forward. Everyone has problems and you probably understand your situation better than anyone else, especially if you take the "happy" approach!

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"Promoting education based athletics in Indiana"

While watching the annual NFL draft this past week, I couldn't help but think how the high school student-athlete goes through the highs and lows of a season just like these aspiring pro football players. Regardless of your sport, you face similar emotions of those hoping to be drafted.

Let's say you are a high school football player(but the same can be applied to all sports), and you have prepared all summer long for the next season.  There are no guarantees of where you may end up once the season begins.

What if there is a move in at your position? What if you think you are going to be an offensive player and the coach switches you to defense? What if you get injured? In other words, you can work the whole off-season and everything could change in a split second.

These college players waiting to be selected for the draft went through a wide range of emotions over those three days(just like you do during your sports season), especially those that expected to be drafted and were not.  In other words, they had very little control, if any, over where they were going to end up.

The only control you have as an athlete at any level is how you prepare and train for your sport. That's why it is so important that you take no shortcuts and take nothing for granted. You control your work ethic, ability, and attitude, but the coaches determine how you fit in!

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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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