It takes ambition, hard work, and dedication for student athletes to succeed at the next level. Many high school athletes aspire to play Division I college sports or play professionally, but do not know what lies ahead in the complex journey of youth sports. Countless hours of training and repetition away from high school practice […]
It takes ambition, hard work, and dedication for student athletes to succeed at the next level. Many high school athletes aspire to play Division I college sports or play professionally, but do not know what lies ahead in the complex journey of youth sports. Countless hours of training and repetition away from high school practice is the only way to perfect your craft. The keys to victory are staying in shape mentally and physically, always working hard, and maintaining focus on the end goal.
Playing year-round in order to become more skillful is a must, especially if you desire to be seen by college recruiters. Aside from high school sports, college-bound athletes play club sports to showcase their talents as they hope to land on the radar of college coaches. There is no break for athletes who have invested so much hard work, sweat, and tears.
I aspire to play Division I college basketball and believe I know what it takes to truly achieve greatness. I started playing basketball in 5th grade but did not take it seriously until the summer of my 8th grade year. I did not always have the skill set or coordination, but from constantly grinding, the odds are in my favor to accomplish my dream. I am not the player I am today just by chance. I have spent countless hours in the gym with various trainers and to try to better my game.
In addition to my academics, basketball is not only a serious part of my life but a norm in my family dynamics. My parents have supported me and have made countless drives to as far as Reno to Los Angeles and multiple cities in between just about every weekend for the sole purpose of allowing me to play on teams that would help challenge and prepare me for the next level. I would not be where I am today without the support of my parents, coaches, trainers, and the mentality of wanting be great — not average. You must contain fire and desire to be the best athlete, because when you are not working out hard, the next person is.
Some other Christian Brothers student-athletes also desire to play Division I college ball.
“When I graduate I hope to play for one of the top basketball programs in the country, like the University of Oregon, Cal-Berkeley, or Saint Mary’s,” Angelo Butler (’20) says. He is close to achieving his goal, as he has multiple colleges interested. But Angelo knows he cannot play at the next level without help from his family and his faith.
“To succeed you must work hard at all times, believe in God, and have a strong relationship with your family,” he says. “If you focus on all three things, you will do more than succeed. That is everything that you need in life, and they will help you go a long way.”
As Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. With your trust in God, anything is truly possible.
The biggest misconception of basketball is that every talented baller makes it to the NBA.
“Not everyone makes it to the league,” Angelo says. “There are over one million basketball players, and only 30 teams.” Only 7% of high school men and women athletes move on to play Division II college sports, and less than that play at the Division I level. If only 7% percent play at a high collegiate level, could you imagine the small percentage of players go to the pros?
Laney Prichard (’20), a star basketball player who is deeply invested in her academics, has similar goals to Angelo’s.
“I really want to go to a well-rounded college with good athletics and academics,” she says.
This is a good mindset to have because academics should always come first and grades are one of the most important things when it comes to college recruitment. To Laney, hard work means “giving your best effort, every game, every practice, and every moment.”
I’m pretty sure that any coach will want you on their team if you work hard, even if there is someone better. At the end of the day, hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard.
Soccer phenom and Gonzaga commit Lauren Towne (’20) explains how she manages getting in extra practice on top of attending high school training.
“I practice three days a week. Tuesdays and Thursdays are from 7-9:30 PM, and on Wednesdays I have double training, so I will have a workout at my clubs training facility from 5 to 6 and then drive over to the fields where I will have goalkeeper training for my position from 6:30 to 7:30.”
Lauren is not where she is today by doing the bare minimum of just going to high school, but by making sure she can get her training in, and staying on top of her grind.
Alex Van Dyke, speed and agility trainer at Alex van Dyke’s Going Vertical, has a different perspective since he has played at the college level as a football player at the University of Nevada.
Alex thinks that the biggest misconception is that college athletes do not get enough credit for all of the hard work the put in.
“People think that athletes do not have to work hard and that everything comes easy for them. They are not aware of the perseverance and criticism they work through. They only see the end result, but what they do not know about what the athletes do it in the middle.”
According to Alex, to be labeled as a hard worker, you must be passionate, persistent, and consistent.
“When competing at the next level, you only need a few things: consistency, a strong faith, persistence, and passion.”
The conclusion from everyone who shared their story is that hard work means that you are giving quality effort and producing, when no one is watching you. No one should want it more than you, and you should not yearn for praise every time you do something well. To be a great athlete it takes hard work and determination.