Athlete on a Team: ENJOY YOURSELF!

One of the perks of being in college is that you get to meet a lot of people that you would not normally meet otherwise.  During your off-season, not only concentrate on improving your skills, but take time to enjoy yourself with others.  Associations with key people can help make your college life fun and exciting, along with contributing to your personal growth and development.

  A person, alone off in college, isolated with few quality friendships and support systems, has a limited chance of personal growth and enjoyment.

As a college athlete, you have a limited amount of time during your season to socialize.  Therefore, most of your friendships, outside of your teammates, will probably develop during the off-seasons.  These friendships, along with those with your teammates, can be very important to the enjoyment of your college experiences.

Association with the right people is an efficient way to help with your personal growth and development.  The right people are those with the personal attributes, or are striving for the personal qualities that you are aspiring to get to, can help steer you in the direction towards success.  Each of you could be a gauge for the other.  That is, to keep each other on track.

So, I encourage you to:

Use this time to get to know your teammates outside of just playing and practicing.  Perhaps you all can explore the town.  Go places together and have clean fun.

Connect with your support systems, such as family and close friends.  These are the people that keep you mentally strong, energized, and motivated through the ups and downs of your college life.  So, spend some quality time with them.  Enjoy them.  Let them enjoy you.

Find out your likes and dislikes.  What do you enjoy doing?  What type of people you enjoy being around or having fun with?

Develop new friendships.  Get to know people in your classes. You never know what type of long term relationships you could develop.

One last thing.

Evaluate all friendships.

Remember, you’re seeking friendships of those with character traits that you’re aspiring to have for success in every part of your life.   Those like honor and respecting people, being responsible, and being unselfish.

Enjoy yourself!  These can be some of the best years of your life!

Tell me how you’re enjoying yourself.

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To the College Athlete on a Team: How are you going to be in your next year?

The next year of your career is coming.  It represents a new level of your life and will have new things for you to master.  In order to position yourself to be among the best in your sport and professional career, you have to work to master important things at the level you are currently on, and prepare for advancement to your next level, as well.   Learning everything that you need to know at each respective level helps in preparing you for the next.

It was my freshman year at UAB and I was playing in the point guard position in a game.

As I dribbled down the court, all I could think of was to get the ball down the court and get rid of it.  The ball was like a hot potato in my hands. 

It seemed that whenever I played point, our opponents always applied more pressure or full court pressed us.

 I was not ready.  I was inexperienced and it showed.  My teammates had no confidence in me and neither did I.

My sophomore year was a little better.

My junior and senior years were totally different.  We were rarely full court pressed.  I had gained more experience and I was prepared. 


Because I had learned that each year of your career brings new challenges to conquer.   You will have to master key things at one level, in order for the transition to the next to be smoother and prepare you for those challenges that await you at the next.

Therefore, accomplishing or fulfilling what your team requires of you in a specific year, makes it less difficult for you to step into your new role as an upper classman in the next year.

Your coach and teammates will expect you to lead and be able to take on a more responsible role on the team.

If not, you risk falling behind.

I encourage you to determine what skills, personal character etc. you need to have to be successful at the current stage of your career and try to develop them.  Do this by talking with your coach and also by paying attention to other teams, especially those athletes and teams that are winning.  Notice how your counterparts perform.  Observe how they are treated by their coaches and other members of their team.  See what is required of them.  Also, do the same to determine what it would take for you to be successful in your next year.  Include studying your teammates who are upper classmen.

Never reach a state where you are not growing.

You should always be seeking knowledge and learning everything that will prepare you for your next level.

Remember all knowledge that you acquire from the previous levels of your career should be applied to the subsequent levels of your career.  This includes knowledge obtained from both competitive and academic experiences.

If executed correctly, you should see improvement in your athletic skills, and personal character, and should be getting closer to obtaining your degree.

Are you getting ready for the next year in your career?

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Letters to the College Athlete: Are you a PUPPET?

As you are discovering your identity, make note of character traits in others that are not in agreement with what you are trying to establish as your identity.  Be aware that if you do not know who you want to be, then others can make you into who they want you to be.  You will be vulnerable to the manipulation of others – a puppet.

“You shouldn’t wear your hair like that!” 

“This is the big city, Country Girl.  Everybody don’t speak to each other like that.  You ain’t in the country anymore.”

“You weren’t here, but I knew it would be okay to come in your room and play your radio.”

“Let me have that, you don’t need it.  You got a lot of them.”

These are not things that a person who honors and respects you would do or say to you.

If you do not know who you are, you will be subjected to being psychologically pulled in different directions away from your personal and career goals by people.  These people do not have your best interests at heart.  Some will want to control you, not for your benefit but for theirs.

This will affect your happiness and self-worth, because you will begin to feel like what matters to you is not important, or you will lose sight of what matters to you and what you want.  You will become overwhelmed with what others want and their happiness.  This is a hindrance to you discovering your identity.

You do not want to establish this type of pattern for yourself through your college career and beyond.

Respect means that you value someone, consider them, which includes their space and property.  It does not mean that you place them above your own worth.  It does not mean that you should accept harsh treatment from others, which includes violation of personal space and name calling.

By knowing exactly what honoring and respecting people is, you will also know the boundaries associated with it and recognize when you are not being honored and respected.  So begin by knowing what it means to honor and respect people the right way and discover the boundaries associated with this concept to protect your well-being.

Being a college athlete, you already have many things that demand your attention.  It is important for you to discover your identity so that you will not be a puppet for others.

I encourage you to find your identity by learning the boundaries and what exactly it means to honor and respect people.  Apply that meaning to gauge how people are treating you, and monitor those who try to distort the true meaning of honoring and respecting people.

How do you know when people are not honoring and respecting you?  Let me know how you gauge.  Like me at

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?