Question: I am aware that your facility has been producing D-1 athletes for years, and as a coach of a local team here I try to help our players understand what it takes to go to the next level. Would you explain how difficult it is and what is expected of athletes to make the jump to NCAA level athletics?
Answer: We have been fortunate to have the opportunity to be a part of the training process of a multitude of athletes who have extended their careers into college athletics in a variety of sports. Obviously, physical training is a part of that process but what we try to impress on each athlete aspiring to go to the next level, whichever level they are moving towards, is that it all begins or ends depending on your mental determination.
For us, the best time to begin this is in middle school. It is first the desire to play a sport followed by the discipline to excel at the sport of your choice. Those willing to drive beyond mediocrity seem fewer with the diversions teenagers face today.
High level coaches feel that the difference between the upper level, mid-range and lower caliber athletes is simply practice. The repetition of skills performed until those simple skills require no thought process but are performed without effort. It is going the extra rep in the gym or spending the time necessary conditioning until your body doesn’t tire at the end of the game. It is a mental choice simply not to fail or lose to anyone. When that loss occurs, an honest, self-evaluation has to happen to determine what needs to be done better. When victory occurs, it requires the same self-evaluation to understand what was right in the victory in order to repeat it.
To be a champion requires putting aside many of the distractions around teenagers today to relentlessly pursue a dream. One quote that echoes here is “You have the ability to make your dreams come true, however,you may have to work for it.” If an athlete understands that there is a process to be successful and is willing to be patient and follow the process then the success will follow the process.
God bless and keep training,