Athlete: Are you a High Maintenance Player?

As an athlete, part of being responsible means learning everything your coach is teaching to you and applying it during games.  This also involves keeping yourself mentally ready to continually apply what you’ve learned.

Good job, Geraline!

It’s okay, Geraline!

Coach, was I supposed to run through on that play?

Coach, was I supposed to switch on that defense?

Keep your head up, Geral!

Don’t quit, Geral!

Above are some of the questions I have asked, and some of the things my coaches have said to me to boost my performance in various games.  At one time or another in my career, I was asking too many of those questions, and requiring my coaches to make too many of those type statements.  During those times, I felt like I needed constant praise, motivation, and guidance from my coaches in order for me to play well.

Those times clearly showed that I was once a high maintenance athlete.

Like a lot of players, I didn’t realize that game time is when your coaches strategically use what they have taught you, to win against competitors.  It is not the time to teach you what you should already know.  Therefore, explaining to you what you should be doing, and constantly trying to find ways to boost your self-esteem is not an efficient use of their time and energy.  It interferes with their focus which is to concentrate on how to defeat the opposing team.

Over time, I learned that the players that play the most, and the most desirable, are those who don’t require so much of their coaches’ attention.   They are the athletes that have a never give up attitude, and they learn what they need to know and execute it without making many mistakes. These athletes can be trusted to not give up when their team is behind, and they will give their all without having to be constantly encouraged to do so.

Therefore, I encourage you to become a desirable athlete by finding ways to motivate yourself. Learn what is required of you by your coaches during team practices.  Realize that sometimes it is necessary for you to take time outside of practice to learn what you need to do for competition.

Exercising these principles will help you become ready to compete physically and mentally without relying so heavily on your coaches.

How to do you stay motivated?

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Letters to the College Athlete: Whose fault is it?

As a college athlete, you are going to have to develop your identity with a strong foundation in attributes that will help you succeed.  This will help you become attracted to people and situations that are conducive to your success in college and beyond.

Discovering your identity helps you monitor the people you choose to associate with.  If you have a solid foundation of who you are, you are going to gravitate toward people who add value to you and support your goals.


I knew I should have stayed on campus, but I left anyway.  I sat in my car in the middle of the projects in the rough part of Birmingham, Alabama.  A woman came to my car and asked, “Do you know of anybody that would want to buy these?”  She opened her hand to reveal different colors of pills.  I was unaware of what kind they were, but I did know she wasn’t a licensed mobile pharmacist.

I had many thoughts!

What if I got caught around her?  Would I go to jail?

No more school!  No more basketball!

It wouldn’t be my fault!  I don’t know her!  I didn’t know we were coming here!

I’m not responsible………

Or was I?

That was an actual scene from a time when I was in college at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

Like a lot of people, I believed that just because I was not doing anything wrong, I was being responsible.

I did not know that being responsible means more than controlling your actions.

I did not know that being responsible means being aware of and taking steps to avoid people and situations that would damage or stop your efforts to becoming successful in college and beyond.

Avoid people whose presence distracts you from achieving your goals to be a successful student athlete.  For instance, someone who persistently tries to convince you to hang with them when you have to study is a person who does not have your best interest in mind.  This person can hinder you from being a successful student.  Therefore, avoid that type of individual.

You should not go with anyone, or by yourself, to any place that there is a possibility that you would get into trouble.  Just your presence could end your career, and possibly your life.

I encourage you make being responsible a part of the foundation of your identity.  Begin by being cautious of people and situations that could interfere with you achieving goals as a college athlete.

Do you have people in your life that you have to be cautious of?