Letters to the College Athlete on a Team: Never give up on YOURSELF!

As an athlete and part of a team, giving up on yourself is not an option!

You’re sitting on the bench thinking . . . .

My family’s here.  When am I going to play?

 I practice hard.  Why ain’t I playing?

 Why is she playing and I am not?  I know that I am better than she is.

 What is wrong with me?  Does the coach not like me?

 What should I do?

The statements above reveal an athlete who is losing her confidence.  She is beginning to question her abilities and negatively compare herself to her teammate.  Look closer and you will also see selfishness beginning to creep in like a hidden snake ready to take over.

These are thoughts that you may have sometime or other while you are playing.

When these thoughts come or when you began to feel this way, remember that you are on a team. Which means you have talent and abilities that your coach saw that convinced him that you would be a great asset to the program.

Use your ability to find a way to help your team.  That is, watch each game to see what your coach needs out of you for that game.  For example, some games he made need a scorer.  Can you produce points?  Some games he needs someone to pass to someone who is on fire scoring.  Can you make a way for your team to get more ball possession – more rebounds, more steals.  Can you help keep others from scoring?

Remember there is always a need for you.  Even when you are not playing.  For example, as a player there were many times I had bad games as a guard – too many turnovers and not scoring.  Some of my former teammates at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) were very encouraging and motivational.

They would say things like ‘It’s okay G!  Shake it off!  Great shot- you’ll get it next time!”  These words were sweet to my ears.

Hearing those types of words keeps you going, even when the fire in you is dying out.  Be a motivator!  There will never be enough motivators on a team.

Another way is to push your teammates in practice so that they can become better.  Challenge them to play better defense by upping your offense.  Challenge them to find more scoring opportunities in their offense by upping your defense.

See the point?!

When you are not playing, I encourage you to focus on what your team needs.  This would help you know and remember that you are still an IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR TEAM!  Provide some of the spark to the flame that keeps your team’s passion to win burning!

What do you think?

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