There is no substitute for the camaraderie and lessons you learn working with your teammates.
First off, fall in love with your high school weight room. Private gyms and trainers can be great. I never fault a player that wants to do as much as he can. The obvious physical benefits do not need much discussion. Any player worth anything today understands that strength and conditioning as part of your regular routine is the bare minimum any successful athlete partakes in. Equally important is that there is no substitute for the camaraderie and lessons you learn working with your teammates. Top guys can learn to lead during team workouts. Also key is that the weight room is also a wonderful place to fail. At some point you won’t get that rep that you wanted or your coach will tell you to lower the weight and fix your technique. Other players will see and hear it. Some of your buddies may even tease you about it. And you will learn to deal with the moments that you aren’t the best players on your team. If you accept this lesson, you will learn to laugh at yourself and your teammates will appreciate you more. You will learn to accept coaching and you will become even better at honing your craft. You will learn grit and how to grind. And you will come out of it even stronger.
Next, start a study group. High school has a ton of structure. Bells ring to tell you when you need to be somewhere. When you get to college, guess what? There are no bells and no one telling you to get out of bed. You are actually going to have a lot of free time. So right now while you are in high school, plan your free periods. Some guys work hard constantly and need that time to decompress. But most of you use that time wastefully. At our program, our Leadership Council recently started small team “study groups.” They get together when their free periods match up and get work done. Some need it! Some just join to hang out and help their teammates with work. At the times they meet and there is no school work to do, they watch Hudl film together. Unless you go to a program with mandatory study tables, this is the way most of you will either succeed or fail academically. Getting together with buddies on your own to get school work done is an essential skill of being a successful student-athlete. Your GPA will go up and make you even more recruitable. And trust me, your college coaches will love it.
Guest Writer, Steve Lian - Head Football Coach at Brighton High School (Rochester, NY)