3 Things I would Focus on If I Were an “Overlooked” Athlete Trying to Play at the Next Level

Most every kid who plays at a competitive level in high school no matter the sport has the ultimate ambition of playing at the elite collegiate level.

However, some of you may not be getting as highly recruited as your teammate next to you.

It’s frustrating. Especially when you feel you put in just as much work as the next guy, but have not elicited the same collegiate demand as them.

You go to practice, give your all, and feel like you might not be getting the return on your physical investment to your sport.

Unfortunately, sometimes the right players get overlooked because of limited exposure, or being in the wrong type of coaching and support system.

Take it as an opportunity to get better regardless.

Be proactive and make a shift from the mindset that opportunity at the next level will fall into your lap…because it won’t.

If you are a junior or a senior and might be going through this experience, here are 3 things that you should focus on to take full advantage this situation:

1.)     Understand that not everything will be in your control, so just focus on what you can control. You might not be getting the reps you want at practice because your coach has his eyes set on someone else at your position. It sucks. It really does.  You may have tried to talk to him, but his actions say he didn’t listen. Despite this, continue to focus daily on things you can do to improve your game. Everyday, before you hit the practice field, ask yourself, what is one thing I can get better at today. Your improvement is up to you

2.)     Don’t sulk in your own misery and complain about how schools are not reaching out to you. Start reaching out to them. You can really sharpen your grit, go out, be proactive, and get the attention of schools on your own. Its obvious that your coach is not helping you like he should, so now YOU must actively outreach to coaches, schools, go to camps, and follow up. You would be surprised at how much sending an email on your own to a coach can do. List out schools you’re most are interested, at least 20-30, and reach out.

3.)    Keep friends and people in your circle who believe in you and reinforce positivity. Again, I know from personal experience how much of a lonely island it can be when your own team coach does not believe in you, and you feel alienated from your teammates because you feel like you are the laughing stock and not taken as seriously as you should be. Don’t deal with this on your own. Keep real ones in your circle to keep you encouraged. Eliminate those in or around your circles who detract from the big picture. Find a coach outside of your school who believes in you and stick to him or her. The encouragement and positive reinforcement goes a long way.

Understanding and applying these principles in your battle to the next level will not only work out in your favor athletically, but in life. The valuable lesson in situations like these are taking the hand you are dealt, and still coming out strong despite circumstance. You learn to not give up and persevere. This is an intangible trait the many coaches appreciate, and commands respect throughout life.