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Dear High School Athlete

As the spring sports season has come to an end and we are on to summer finally, last week’s blog post about embracing the challenge really hit me.

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night because you have this idea, “Aha moment” or just a thought you can’t get out of your head?

Well, today we are going to dive a little deeper into embracing the challenge and what that means in today’s landscape, specifically in youth sports.

Buckle up, share this with others and let me know what resonates with you.

As a personal trainer and a former “average” high school athlete, I’ve been around a lot of up-and-comers trying to get better at their sport. As the fiance of a dedicated sports coach, I also see firsthand the work she does and the commitment it takes as a coach.

I’ve seen the good and the bad from young athletes and parents.

Well, athletes and parents of young athletes, a message for you and I hope you choose to take steps in the right direction.

This is a two-part blog series and today I will be addressing the high school athlete.

Dear High School Athlete,

Do you know what the purpose of high school is?

High school is a period in your life that prepares you to become an adult. Whether that is going to college, the military or finding a job, life moves on after high school.

High school is a place you learn, make friends, have fun, mature and build for the future.

High school also presents its fair share of challenges and guess what?

That’s a good thing.

Challenges are something you are going to face every day in your life so high school is just the beginning. You will have to put up with some adversity, get out of your comfort zone and face your fears.

Right now, that might not be something you are interested in, but it’s something you better get used to.

Whether you are the star athlete, first one off the bench or barely get any playing time, it’s time for some life lessons.

Be responsible for your own actions.

If you show up out of shape for preseason workouts, don’t expect to start.

If you do not get along with your teammates, don’t expect to be named a captain.

If you complain to the refs or throw your bat, expect to be benched even if you are the star.

You control your life. You control your actions. This is called personal responsibility.

If you want to become better as a player, that’s up to you. Instead of taking the summer off from doing anything physical, being a selfish player or losing your cool, start training in the offseason, be a better teammate and check the attitude at the door.

Set the example.

Almost everything you do in life, someone is watching. Whether it’s younger kids, friends, teachers, or future employers, you come into contact with so many people every day. With that is the responsibility to set the example.

Whether you are an all-star or barely see the field, you are setting the example with every action you take. When you mope around after a strikeout, complain after a foul call or get into an altercation with your teammate, you are setting a bad example.

If you are the star of the team, no matter how many home runs or points you score, if you have a poor attitude, you won’t go far. Try bringing a poor attitude in 10 years to your future job and you won’t last long. Real stars lift up their teammates, have a good attitude and are leaders.

If you are a reserve, just because you aren’t in the starting lineup doesn’t mean you get to “half-ass” it. Try “half-assing” it in your career and you won’t go very far. Always be ready, work your butt off and do the best to be a great teammate.

Bring your “A Game.”

If you aren’t giving your best effort you only have yourself to blame.

Taking sprints off, not working out in the offseason, being late for practice, going to a party the night before a big game. That’s not bringing your “A Game.” If you want to become a better athlete, get more playing time or play in college, time to put the work in. If you are the star, don’t get complacent. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. If you are a reserve, when you’re not playing, warm up the pitcher, high-five your teammate, do whatever it takes to help out. To win, it requires a full team effort.

You are not entitled to anything.

Football star J.J. Watt said, “Success isn’t owned. It’s leased, and rent is due every day.”

In this world, you are not entitled to anything.

Just because you started last year doesn’t mean you will this year. If you didn’t work hard to get better, why should you start? If your performance slips in your career because you are coasting, don’t rely on the “well I’ve been there for a long time” excuse. Everyone can be replaced and you are just coasting and not improving, you are even easier to replace.

You are committed.

Commitment is something we struggle with as a society. We live in a short-term instant gratification world where things are delivered in two days or less, a Google search gets us what we want in less than a second and we can order food and have it at the house in a matter of minutes.

When you sign up for a sports team, see it through. Don’t quit. You committed to the team and you are letting yourself and your teammates down. Michael Jordan didn’t quit when he was cut from his high school basketball team. He dug deep and committed to being the best he could be. Worked out well for him, didn’t it?

If you are the star and things aren’t going your way, battle through it. When you are a reserve, be the best teammate possible because that’s what you committed too. Don’t jump ship at the first sign of a challenge. If you do that in real life, how successful do you think you will be? You are going to be bouncing around jobs and unhappy with your future. When the going gets tough, embrace it and dig in.

Stop pouting when you don’t make the first team. Work harder in the offseason and wear that chip on your shoulder.

Don’t blame your teammates for the loss. You win games as a team and you lose games as a team.

If you are on the bench, don’t sulk. Be the best teammate you can be and give it your all because you don’t know when your number will be called.

Don’t be mouthy to your coaches, officials or opponents. Respect the game, respect your opponents and be thankful you have the opportunity to compete.

High school is a short blip in your life. Four years can fly by in a hurry.

Be a good person.

Be a positive force.

Be a helping hand.

Be the best possible teammate.

Be a leader.

Be a hard worker.

Start embracing the challenge and you will be on the path to success.

#challenge #howtobethebestathlete #highschool #sports #adamclarkfitness #highschoolathletics #embracethechallenge #youthsports #mentaltoughness #kidssports

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