10 Success Tips For the Student-Athlete
1. Practice time management. Treat your life as a full time job, and honor each commitment. While you may enjoy athletic life more, be sure to put in the time and respect for your classes, too.
2. Communicate. Cultivate great communication skills with coaches, teammates, instructors and fellow students. If you have to miss a class or a practice, notify the relevant people and let them know your plan for making it up to them. People really appreciate this, so get into this habit early, and it will help take you far in life.
3. Challenge comfort zones and stereotypes. Just because you are known as a talented athlete, it doesn’t mean you have to put yourself in that box and stay there. Engage people outside of your usual circle of teammates. Try an activity or two that’s out of your current comfort zone.
4. Manage the brand of “you.” Every team seems to have a loudmouth or a showoff… but did you ever notice that although they may start out strong, they tend to flame out fast? Don’t be “that guy” (or girl). It’s great to be enthused or even exuberant about what you do, but remember to keep it classy as well. All things in moderation. Those around you will appreciate it.
5. Learn from your failures. Whether it’s a loss on the field or a poor grade in the classroom, don’t let failures affect your goals and winning spirit. Learn all that you can from mistakes or failures. Perhaps even find a gift or opportunity in them; then move on, wiser and stronger than ever.
6. Don’t ever stop learning. Become a voracious reader. Learn all you can, whether it’s within your sport or in your classwork. Remaining open to new knowledge and insights is one of the best ways to keep growing, and this habit will serve you well for the rest of your life.
7. Keep the big picture in mind. Your day-to-day life may be hectic, but try and plan for down the road as well. Keep communication open with all of the key people in your life, from coaches and professors to administrators. Never burn bridges; network, communicate and stay connected. These skills will help in all areas of life.
8. Ask good questions at student-athlete recruiting meetings. Determine what you’re looking for in a school, and ask relevant questions. What is the retention rate of the school? What are some common majors among the current team members? What is the team’s overall grade point average? Determine what’s most important to you, and leave each campus with answers.
9. Register for the clearinghouse early. The NCAA uses a sliding-scale that is based on your ACT or SAT score plus your GPA in at least 16 courses in order to determine your eligibility. These statistics are funneled through a clearinghouse. To expedite the process, include the NCAA as a receiver of your results. (The NCAA code is 9999.) For more information, check out the NCAA eligibility resource center or give us a call at 1(800) 242-0165 for further assistance.
10. Plan for success, but have a Plan B as well. This tip is not meant to be negative — just realistic. The truth is that fewer than 5% of college level student-athletes go on to compete in the pros after graduation. While you should go for your dreams full out, it’s wise to have a backup plan as well. You just never know what life has in store. Even in the pros, careers can be relatively short, and injury can strike any time. Know your Plan B from the beginning, and you’ll be way ahead of the game from the get-go.
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