While there certainly can be a program for each and every player at the next level, it's hard work, determination, and discipline that will be the keys to open the doors to opportunity. As a high school student-athlete, you must make sure that you are doing EVERYTHING in your power to be the best player you can be.
Here are three great ways to improve your game:
1. Seek Constructive Criticism
Sure, it’s a great feeling when you're told how well you played in your game, though it’s likely you already know the areas that you excel at on the field, court, or ice. Just as important (if not moreso) as positive encouragement is constructive criticism from respected voices like your high school, club, or camp coaches. Get as many opinions as you can from those that really know and understand the game, and don’t take suggestions or direction negatively. Instead, be sure to focus in on those areas, as they will only lead you to becoming a better player. Film is seemingly every where and in every game now -- watch any and all highlights available to you so that you can recognize any bad habits and work on eliminating them. Each and every player at any level can always improve. Do not be satisfied with where you are - push to make yourself better than you were yesterday.
2. Develop Leadership Qualities
College coaches are looking for student-athletes who showcase winning attitudes, mental toughness, take charge of their practices and workouts, and show composure in the toughest of situations. These elements not only make you a better student-athlete, but they help you elevate the ability of those around you (your teammates!). Be a LEADER. Keep in mind that being a 'leader' does not specifically mean being vocal or the loudest player. You do not have to be a vocal individual to be a leader -- many, many times the absolute best leaders are those that lead by example. To be a good leader, do everything to the best of your ability - the big and the little things. Be encouraging. Be first in line for drills. Be early to practice. Be willing to stay late. Be the hardest worker without question. And, especially as a student-athlete, this leadership does not stop in the game, at practice, or in the classroom. Aim to a role model away from school and the game too -- you'll be pleased to see where this mentality will take you in your life.
3. Be The Hardest Worker in the Gym (and be a Gym Rat!)
The difference between being a good and being great is hard work. And those that are great work to beat the athlete that they were yesterday. Sure, you cannot change your height, but you can always have heart and always be looking for ways to improve -- get faster, stronger, more agile. Increase your strength, endurance, speed, and flexibility as much as you possibly can. Two of our favorite quotes apply to the 'gym rat' mentality -- "The true test of a man's character is what he does when no one is watching." (John Wooden) and one of ours: "The key to beating your opponent starts well before the game begins!"
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