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How do I stay focus in terms of carrying my student athlete career?

I'm A senior in high school who's on honor roll and multiple different basketball teams.

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

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Gregory’s Answer

I would say that one of the keys to success is to setting yourself on a structured schedule and keeping a focused mindset. There's two parts: 1. Student and 2. Athlete. Let's touch on both:

1. Student
Key question: As as student, are you studying in order to enter a particular profession or are you taking an interest in a particular subject?

Purpose: This practice will really come into play when you graduate and begin college. When you create a structured schedule for yourself, it will minimize distractions and give you a better likelihood of achieving your academic goals. There's a lot of academic scholarships and support for those that attain a high level of academic success. Ending on the right foot in high school can propel you to the right start in college if you have structure for yourself.

Tip: DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP! If you need mentorship, tutoring, or a study session with a teacher, please make sure to ask for it. The same will also apply to college.

2. Athlete
Key question: As an athlete, are you playing in order to get to play after college or does it give you a healthy outlet for competition, etc.?

Purpose: When you begin with the end in mind, you will find that practices and games will push you closer to your athletic goals. Continue to stay on a structured schedule, even with the other extra curricular activities that may try to come into play (parties, etc.) . Even if (and big emphasis on IF) you get injured, make sure to stay focused on taking care of your mind and your education (in all aspects). When you graduate, you will come away with valuable memories that will shape your mentality in whatever career you land into.

Tip: DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP! If you need mentorship, tutoring, or a study session with a coach or an upper classman athlete you admire: be assertive and put in the work! We miss 100% of the shots we don't take, and many athletes have been successful in a large percentage because of their work ethic and mentality (i.e. Damian Lillard, Ja Morant, MJ, Kobe, etc.)

Final thought: If you have the privilege to meet a college player or NBA player (past or present), you will definitely hear about many lessons they've learned in their lives. Don't be afraid to learn from them, because those lessons will help you pave your own road to your success.
Thank you comment icon I will use this advice as I prepare for my career. Rondell M.
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Howard’s Answer

Hello Rondell. This is actually a great question.

I was a professor and college basketball coach for 25 years. Many of my players had the same problem and that is focusing on their academic studies while playing basketball. I told them that they would have to make certain sacrifices in their life if they wanted to be able to do well in basketball and in their academic studies. They would have to give up some of what they do to concentrate on basketball and college. I told them that if they became real good in basketball later on in their life they potentially could obtain a salary in the game overseas. However if they were injured overseas, they would be sent back to the USA ,and unless they had a good education, it might be difficult for them to get a good job. So with that being said, when you go on road trips, study and do your work in the hotels. When your friends want you top go to a party, skip it for the studies. In other words you have to always find the time to fit in your schoolwork and still play the game of basketball. Understand what your objectives are and then go for them relentlessly. Never give up for the time you put into your master plan now, will pay off for you in the future.

I hope this helps and wish you the best in all your future endeavors.

Sincerely,

Prof./Coach Chris
Thank you comment icon I appreciate your words of advice coach Chris. Rondell M.
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Dirk’s Answer

I have been in a similar situation when I was young. My sport was Tennis.

The question is: what is your goal. I mean, you will enter college, but what do you want to do afterwards? Becoming a professional basketball player? Or find a great job based on your academic achievements?

In my case, I knew that I love my sport but also knew that I would never ever be able to make it as a pro. Also, I saw how many college Tennis players ended up struggling afterwards, as the only serious job options they had was working as a Tennis coach, where their income in most cases was very low. Bottom line, I did not play Tennis in college. And now, 20+ years later, I am sure I made the right decision.

I know many people who went to college on an athletic scholarship. While you can do so, it definitely takes serious time/commitment away from your academics. Most of them were struggling with their academics while in college, which brings me back to my first question: what is YOUR goal.

Good luck.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice, Dirk. Rondell M.
Thank you comment icon I understand what your saying, I should move accordingly towards my goal taking specific actions to reach what I want. Rondell M.
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