BEING THE MAN…… Yes, this sounds like a gender-based comment, but it is not.  It applies to males, females…boys and girls!  As they say, “in order to BE the man, you have to BEAT the man”….. Well, what happens when your young student-athlete, who was a stellar athlete in association and middle school sports gets into high school and is out-performed?  What if they end up being at the bottom of the high school level “best of the best”?  Parents, it is up to you to be prepared to discuss the different levels of success on a high school athletic team.  Success doesn’t just mean being a starter or the team captain.  It can be the kid that rides the bench, but has an outstanding positive attitude and works hard at helping his teammates get better and prepare in practice (Rudy!  Rudy!  Rudy!).  It can also be that your kid is a slow bloomer and simply is not at the same level, physically, as the other kids that have already grown.  You DO NOT want to discourage your kids, but instead, have them push forward and learn to be as good and smart in their sport as they can be, taking as much as they can from practice, etc.  There will be a point where they can improve their size, in time, and start to measure up.  Sometimes, kids may not meet their full athletic potential of that level till their Senior year.  It would be a shame to pull them from sports early in their high school career when they could still achieve a high level in their Junior or Senior years!

The same applies for the athletes that go on to play at the college level.  Most were star performers for their high school teams, accustomed to individual and team glory, “being the man”, so to speak and getting the accolades that come with it.  Entering the college level is starting all over again, as EVERYONE that has received the coveted collegiate sports scholarship are all really tremendous individuals.  What happens if you are used to being the top dog on your high school team and you now find yourself no longer in that position.  In fact, what if you find that you are #3 or #4 on the depth chart, somewhere you have never been before in your entire sports life?  For some, the shock is unbearable and they don’t recover.  You see a lot of first year collegiate athletes simply “wash out” and quit the team or even worse, quit college all together.  It is sad that most have been pushed and supported while in the ranks of high school greatness, but that nobody took them aside to discuss the “other side”, which to most is taboo and negative.  God forbid we talk about the reality of college (and high school) sports!  Some will accept the challenge and push through, gaining ground (and status) in their pursuit to get better and find a more active role on that team.  It is a tough place to be and is part of what sports and competition is all about.  Look around, realize how lucky you are, and push yourself to improve, period!  There is no better attitude to have!

Kids need to know the importance of simply being on a team roster and that the word “team” includes everyone that is working hard every day for the common goal of victory.  For some sports, having a deep bench is as important as the talent listed as the starters.  An athlete that can’t get over that they can’t be #1 is going to run into problems, not just in sports, but in life, as there are so many obstacles that you have to work around, just to exist.  The positive mentality can be nurtured by parents, coaches and teammates.  It is not easy and only comes naturally for some.  College coaches actually will look for that attitude in all of their players, not just the starters, as that is what helps a team be victorious and successful, in competition and in their communities.  So, this is not “being negative”, but simply opening your student-athletes’ eyes so that they can have a full understanding that “being the man” is defined differently as you progress in sports and can be achieved in different ways.  Focus on giving your best, physically, mentally, in a competitive sense, in the classroom and in the community!  Look for the good, hate the losing, cherish the camaraderie and above all, set a great example for teammates around you! – Your #1 College Sports Recruiting & Scholarship Networking Resource!

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