IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week

IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (10-9-17)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Student-athletes can shine in a variety of ways. It’s not always about touchdowns, points scored, or a fast time. In fact, it’s much more than that. How do you make a difference in your community?

Houston Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson did just that by contributing his first professional paycheck to the support staff of his team. They had lost all of their belongings during the recent hurricane. So yes, he gave up something he had looked forward to for a lifetime, his first pro paycheck, to help those that help him every day.

For a high school student to make a difference or show an act of kindness, it might be a “good morning” to another student, or a “thank you” to a custodian, a show of respect to those in charge, or a smile when things are going tough. Are your actions showing that you are a caring and giving person?

There’s nothing more rewarding than making someone else happy. Make sure you try to do so every day in your actions and words!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (10-2-17)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Playing sports can be rewarding and frustrating. It’s actually a microcosm of life. You will always be faced with challenges and trying to come up with solutions to solve those challenges.

One thing is for sure: there will be more delayed gratification than most prefer. During your freshman and sophomore year, your progress takes patience and time. Those small steps of improvement and development aren’t always rewarded.

Can you remain patient? Most high school student-athletes won’t reach their full potential until their junior or senior seasons. It’s very challenging to wait for that opportunity. The competition gets tougher and tougher. The workouts are harder and harder.

Those that make it through and end up participating in junior varsity and varsity sports will look back someday and realize more gratification and enjoyment than you ever experienced while you were participating. The lessons learned will influence you more than you ever expected!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (9-25-17)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

How do you respond as an athlete when things aren’t going well for you? How do you act when you are demoted or you aren’t playing as much as you wish? Are you still happy to be a part of the team, or do you put yourself first and continue to think that you deserve more than your coach is giving you?

Do you quit or stick it out? While I know that it is very difficult to practice hard and give it your all, you can still be important to your team in a supporting role.

In life, you will be challenged with these same decisions when things aren’t going well.  Will you quit, or will you stick it out? Those who stay involved for the long haul won’t win every battle, but having the right attitude and never quit persona will serve you much better than quitting!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (9-11-17)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

A wise coach once said that it’s just as tough to handle success as it is to handle failure.

One current star, professional golfer Jordan Spieth, seems to understand the importance of humility in the midst of his success.

When asked about the importance of humility in a recent Golf Digest article, Spieth replied by saying “my speaking about humility is very difficult, because that wouldn’t be humility.”

A student-athlete who understands this lets other people do the talking about who’s good and who’s not. Tooting your own horn can cause a problem bigger than a major traffic jam!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (9-4-17)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

With the new school year in full bloom and fall sports taking shape, are you doing a good job of prioritizing what your goals are for this school year? Is it different than last year? What did you learn last year that is guiding your decision making so far this year?

Having been in your shoes before, and speaking on behalf of many other athletes and coaches, your order of priority, when it comes to being a successful student-athlete, should be the following:

First comes the classroom and your academic progress (Develop great study habits). Second, dedicate yourself to the sport you are presently playing or plan to play. Third, balance your social life and social activities (Sacrifices need to be made).

The student-athletes that do the best job of balancing these three different challenges have the best chance of becoming the student-athletes that teachers, high school coaches, and potential college coaches admire the most!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (5-22-17)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Every high school student-athlete faces challenges–in the classroom, in their sport, and even at home. It seems like there is always an obstacle to overcome.

Research is clear that it really does pay to be positive during difficult times. The benefits include enhanced health and longevity, happiness, career advancement, and athletic performance.

Writer Jon Gordon says that “positive people who regularly express positive emotions are more resilient when facing stress, challenges and adversity.”

How can you become a more positive person? Tasting success in the classroom and on the athletic field will help, but should not be the determining factor. Try and make each day positive not only for you, but for someone else, as well!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (5-15-17)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

As a big sports fan, there’s nothing more gratifying than watching an athlete that plays with enthusiasm and high energy. No showboating, not trying to show up an opponent or teammate, but just pure enthusiasm.

This weekend when we dropped off our nine year old grandson and parked our car, he was so excited for his baseball game. He ran to the diamond, he was the first player on the field each inning, and he even ran back to the dugout after striking out in his third at bat. In other words, he was having fun and enjoying the moment.

I know as you get older and games get more competitive and mean more, it’s easy to lose sight of the importance of having fun. However, there’s not a fan or coach anywhere that doesn’t respect and admire an athlete that is enthusiastic. Don’t ever lose sight of how your enthusiasm can have a positive effect in everything you do and say!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (5-8-17)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Are you looking forward to the end of the school year? Are you still applying yourself in the classroom? Are your grades where they need to be? Are you making excuses for any shortcomings or failures?

This is the time of year where it’s very easy to lose concentration on your academic and athletic prowess. In fact, the following statement from an NBA coach really applies to this last month of school, especially if you are struggling, somewhat.

“You have a choice. You can give in, you can give up, or you can give it your all.” Make the most of this last month of school. Give it your best. While this quote was spoken in a locker room, it applies as well to the student-athlete putting the final touches on the end of another school year.

Give it your all!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (5-1-17)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

“Your next opponent doesn’t care about last week’s victory” was a quote I read recently that makes so much sense. It is so true. In athletics, yesterday doesn’t matter near as much as tomorrow does.

Are you able to move on after a sweet win? What about a tough loss? Does it hang with you or are you able to brush it off after a couple of days?

It has been said that the best athletes have short term memory. They don’t dwell on wins or losses or personal performance. Instead, they concentrate on improvement and trying to get better every day.

There is no doubt that a well-earned victory can be satisfying and self-serving, but in most cases it is forgotten about shortly. Successful players and coaches are always looking to the future and use the past as a gauge on how to make that successful!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (4-24-17)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Zak Keefer of the Indy Star wrote about NFL legend Peyton Manning and how he spent part of his off season every summer working on basic fundamentals with his brother Eli, under his former college quarterback coach.

Peyton was quoted as saying “Don’t think you ever got it all figured out, because the little things matter. And if you ever think the little things don’t matter, and you can brush those aside, I promise you in whatever you are doing, your game’s going to slip.”

So the next time you spend a big part of your practice working on fundamentals, or your coach encourages you to do so in the off season, recognize the importance. Manning did so for his entire career!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (4-17-17)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Have you ever had a coach make the comment to you or a teammate by saying the words “you are thinking too much”? If so, what would those words mean to you? It more than likely means that you are “overthinking” or not playing by natural instincts.

Sports are played best by those who think less and play naturally. In other words, a baseball or softball player might overthink their time at bat by waiting for a perfect pitch. Regardless of the sport, there is always a scenario where “overthinking” is a detriment, rather than a plus.

Try to relax in those stressful situations and rely on those natural instincts.  Focus on your role, your training and how your coach has instructed you. If you block out all other distractions, you will be free to play to your best ability and do what comes naturally!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (4-10-17)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

High school athletes play sports for a variety of reasons. I would say very few participate to achieve fame and fortune. In fact, I would venture to say that you might feel uncomfortable if stardom came your way.

The World Series champion and National League MVP would be right there with you. This young, successful baseball phenom cares about his image and what he can do to make others feel comfortable around him.

Whether you are Kris Bryant the MVP or the local player at your high school, there is no greater trait than humility. Kris recently said in Sports Illustrated that he wants people in public to see his personality, that he’s a nice guy, and it’s good karma that comes back to you. Treat people with kindness and it all comes back to you.

When success comes your way it is OK to revel in the moment, but don’t forget the image that Kris Bryant portrays. Those around you will be glad you did!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (3-27-17)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

What do the words “body language” mean to you? Do you get excited easily or are you even-tempered while playing your sport? How do you manage your emotions, in good situations and bad?

Your coach and the average fan will form an opinion of you by your actions during tense and trying moments. How do you react on a negative play? Do you shrug your shoulders and put the blame on others? What’s your reaction when you make a good play? How do you react when your coach takes you out of the game for making a mistake?

Never under estimate the importance of keeping your emotions in check and not letting others know how you are feeling inside. Those with good “body language” will always appear to be confident and in control of any situation!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (3-20-17)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

What’s your mental state like before a big game or an important test? Are you unsure or afraid to fail? Are you confident? Do you feel prepared? Are you afraid of the potential result?

Most athletes, at every level, would tell you that they are a little nervous before that big game.  If you don’t have those butterflies in your belly, I would be very surprised.

But why are you nervous may determine the end result. If you aren’t prepared, don’t anticipate positive results.

But if you are nervous because of the anticipation of the game and you are prepared, you will find yourself confident and ready for the challenge ahead!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (3-13-17)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

“The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” is a saying that’s been around the sports world for a long time. It’s still applicable today and applies to all sports, team or individual.

You have all played sports long enough to be on the winning end of an exciting or unexpected victory. The same can be said about that devastating loss.

The agony of defeat seems to set in when it happens in your final game. Whether it’s players playing in the NCAA Tournament or your local high school finale, that last loss is one that stays with you a lifetime.

While it seems like the end of the world the moment it happens, we all know that it isn’t. Use those disappointing moments to inspire you to move onto bigger and greater things!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (3-6-17)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

One of the great success stories this year is about a Division III basketball team, Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. Their 27-0 record is only part of the story. Their unconventional coach, Eric Bridgeland, is a realist who relates to his players in a very unique way. The following quote from USA Today sums up his approach:

“If you could wish your team one thing, I would wish they are having a blast and that they don’t feel pressure. So that’s what we are doing. In our team visualization before every game, we talk about being creative and enthusiastic in handling these awesome situations we get into.”

Do you visualize success before your game?  This may be a key to Whitman’s success and yours!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (2-27-17)

“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

This is boys basketball sectional week.  Past history says it’s a week of surprises. Will we have a snowstorm? What ranked team will be the first out? What school will provide the biggest shock of the week? Is your school a favorite or the underdog to take the sectional crown?

There is nothing more fun than participating in an event that the whole school gets behind. Whether it’s a school play, a choral event, or a team advancing along in a state tournament, it’s fun to be involved as the excitement grows and the event arrives.

As a member of your student body, make it a point to get involved in the week’s festivities. The support shown by the students might make a difference in the outcome of that close game. History could be made and the memories from those exciting games could be something that you remember and talk about fifty years later!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (2-13-17)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Super Bowl 51 was Tom Brady’s fifth title. His leadership and grit helped lead his team back from a 28-3 deficit. This game will no doubt seal Brady’s legacy as the best quarterback to ever play the game.

However, Brady still realizes he is part of the team and not the team. When asked why there has never been any friction between him and his coach, Brady answers quite simply: “He’s the coach, I’m the player.” That simple philosophy is a quality that all athletes should take to heart.

Do you listen to your coach? Do you let outside influences affect your attitude towards your coach? If your coach asks you to do something, do you abide? The most successful teams are those that believe in their coach and the system he (she) runs!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (2-6-17)

“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

College basketball is getting close to tournament time, and one of the best mid-majors in the country, Illinois State, has relied on good defense while standing atop the Missouri Valley Conference, according to their coach Dan Muller.

Defense is important in all team sports. It’s often been said that defense wins championships. Muller has been quoted as saying that “the key has been on defense. We aren’t afraid to call each other out if one of us gets beat.”

Defensive accountability is an important part of team success. When a teammate fails to do their part, there’s a right way to point out a weakness or slip up. If you must call out a teammate, do so in a positive way.  It’s how you deliver the message that will either inspire your teammate or have a negative effect on the entire team!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (1-30-17)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Super Bowl 51 will feature the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday. Will you watch the game? The human interest stories on the coaches, players and their families are a good reason to tune in.

Of all the big televised sporting events, the Super Bowl commentary provides more insight into the personal life, successes and failures of these talented athletes (both starters and reserves) than any other.

The event should be outstanding, but the stories told on how these players got here and the challenges they faced are the stories you want to hear.

By watching, you will find a story or comment that will inspire you to become a better student-athlete than you are today!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (1-23-17)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

There are many factors that determine how you can become a successful student-athlete. Have you given any thought on how and why certain student-athletes make a positive impact on their school?

I believe the formula can be summed up in three simple words: Grades over Games. The foundation of being successful starts in the classroom. If you dig in academically, it actually makes your involvement in sports an easy transition. The same principles and work habits apply in both.

Sports are short-lived but serve a great purpose. Academics last you a lifetime. While big games are easy to fret over, it’s the daily classroom work that prepares you for the future. Grades over Games is the true formula for future success!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (1-16-17)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

This past week an NFL general manager was asked to respond to the poor behavior of his star player, wide receiver Odell Beckham, after a tough playoff loss. Jerry Reese was quoted as saying, “He’s a smart guy but sometimes he doesn’t do smart things.”

Players at all levels have a responsibility of acting properly before, during, and after games. In today’s society, athletes must be aware that almost every negative incident can be tweeted about or seen on video. Nothing, and especially negative behavior, goes unnoticed.

Everyone slips up from time to time. However, doing and saying destructive things should never enter the equation. Make sure your actions and attitude represent you, your school and your team in a first class way!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (1-9-17)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

All schools have their rivalry games. What teams on your schedule would you consider to be a rival? Do they look at you as a rival?

Rival games draw bigger crowds and more excitement. That means more exposure and more eyes on every moment of the game. Sometimes under the spotlight tempers fly and athletes do things out of their character. Are you capable of keeping your cool and composure during tense moments?

The next time you are in a big game (or really any game at all), take time before the game to reflect on how you will react if tempers escalate and the game gets rough and out of control. Will you keep your composure, regardless of what others do?

Don’t let your hard work and reputation slip during those big moments!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (1-3-17)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

School is back in session and 2017 is here. What did you learn from your sports experience during 2016? What changes will you make in the new year? What will you do the same?

Be truthful in the analysis. Knowing what you did well will be evident, but looking for areas of improvement may be more challenging to come up with. If need be, have a conversation with your coaches and get their insight.

Set attainable goals for this new year that challenge you. Push yourself harder than you have in the past. Most importantly, strive to become the type of student-athlete that coaches and teammates can count on!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (12-12-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

While watching my grandson play a youth basketball game over the weekend, I was impressed with his attitude and concentration while he wasn’t in the game.   At his age, they play an equal amount of time so all the kids spend time on the bench.  In contrast to his young teammates, it was noticeable that he was focused on watching his teammates and the game.

In high school team sports more than half of the players are not participating in the game at a given time.  Can you say that you or your teammates stay focused on the game or match when you are not in the game?  Are you still involved or disinterested?

Concentrating on the game when you are on the bench is no guarantee of success when you get your chance to play, but it does show that you are engaged and care about the end result. Those that stay involved mentally while not playing have a much higher success rate when their chance finally comes or its time to give someone a rest!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (12-5-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

There are times when underclassmen view their future athletic success as making the varsity and getting playing time in the 9th or 10th grade. Are you one of those athletes? Did your parents put pressure on you or did you put pressure on yourself?

Sometimes (really most of the time) you must wait your turn. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Take advantage of the freshmen and junior varsity experience to develop your game.  And more importantly, don’t become discouraged because it’s how you perform as a junior and senior that really counts.

Don’t pressure yourself early on if you need more time for skill development and maturity. Sometimes the really good athletes are late bloomers!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (11-28-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Do you set goals for yourself in the classroom and in your sport? Do you follow through at the end of your grading period and the conclusion of your sport’s season and grade your results?

For the student who may be struggling, or the athlete that is going through a slump, have you ever thought of setting short term goals? Short term goals are easier to track and they can supply instant gratification and encouragement if you achieve them.

If you are having a tough challenge or not achieving the playing time and results you desire, think about setting short term goals that challenge you in the short term. Whether it’s to work harder, make your teammates better, or just impressing your coach, do the things necessary to separate yourself from the others on your team!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (11-14-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

What does the word “sportsmanship” mean to you? If you ask your classmates, I’m sure you would get a variety of answers.

Some student-athletes might view sportsmanship as a handshake after a game. Others may say it’s your attitude during a game. And others may say it’s never getting mad and showing your temper. All would be correct.

I challenge you to think about sportsmanship during the entire school day and during your sporting events as well. Good sportsmanship shouldn’t be a reaction. Instead, make it a habit. Whether it’s being complimentary in the classroom, hallway, or field/court of play, take pride in being a good sport every day!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (11-7-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

This past week the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in over 100 years. As told by their front office personnel, it took thousands of small sacrifices by players and people throughout the organization to finally bring an end to the longest dry spell in baseball history.

Good things in sports don’t happen by accident. Take your school team as an example. Coaches prepare all year long for a season that might last three months. Athletes train the year around and hope the improvement shows when their season begins. Every team/individual aims to win its last game of the year because it would mean a state championship.

But nothing great happens without everyone being on the same page. What are the big and small sacrifices that it takes to give your team a championship shot?

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (10-31-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

There are many benefits of having a positive outlook.  It’s helpful in the in the classroom, in your sports endeavors, and in life in general.

In my experience as an athlete and coaching student-athletes, I know that having an upbeat, positive attitude can lift other people around you.  You may be frustrated at times, but if your overall mindset is positive, you will move on quicker than your teammates and opponents.

Your emotions show up when least expected. If high performance is your goal, then embrace the fact that positive emotions plays a more important role than most student-athletes realize. Conquering your emotions will help you attain greater success in every walk of life!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (10-24-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Today’s student-athlete knows the importance of size, speed and strength. However, the ability to develop the fundamentals and skills of your sport is just as important.

Someone once said, “if you are good enough, you are big enough.”

What truly separates athletes at the high school level is skill development, work ethic, and knowledge of your sport.  If you are fundamentally sound, work hard every day in practice, and pay attention to what your coach expects of you, then you can overcome bigger, faster or even stronger competitors.

Time takes care of physical development.  In the meantime, work on your skills to assure you don’t fall behind!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (10-10-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Are you an athlete that enjoys practice as much as the games? Do you realize how important practices are to your coaches? Do you work hard in practice or just show up and put in your time?

Practice time is your opportunity to show your coaches what you are made of. Are you prepared each day? Do you work your hardest? Do you take instruction in a positive way? Is your attitude good, day in and day out?

All athletes like performing on game day. However, it’s the ones that perform during practice that become the most trusted in the eyes of the coaching staff. Practice each day like it is the most important game of the season. By doing so, you show your coaches that you can be counted on when the next game begins!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (10-3-16)

“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

A local pastor said “The only thing that spreads faster than fire is gossip. Gossip destroys individuals, teams, coaches, and friendships.”

The environment you live in (home) and practice and play in (school) can be directly affected by negative viewpoints and untrue rumors (gossip).

Are you capable and can you encourage your teammates to take the high road? Stop gossip early by controlling your own actions and words. Unity wins over gossip every single time!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (9-26-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

An NFL line coach was reminiscing about a former player and how he was the most coachable athlete he’d ever encountered. Howard Mudd, formerly of the Indianapolis Colts, said “he was the kind of player that was so coachable that you better not tell him the wrong thing because he’s gonna do exactly what you tell him.”

No doubt that coaches respect this kind of athlete. Doing what a coach wants and expects out of you can go a long way in determining your playing time and your value to the team.

Can your coach count on you? If you can answer “yes”, then you more than likely fall in the category of being coachable!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (9-19-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Former soccer great Mia Hamm was once quoted as saying “celebrate what you’ve accomplished, but also raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed.”

Most athletes that reach the pinnacle of their sport have a knack for doing just that. They remain hungry and stay focused after reaching short term goals. They also think about development and improvement regardless of what happened the day before, good or bad.

It’s really a challenge to balance success while keeping an eye on consistent improvement. Those that master that concept will be the ones that succeed when it counts the most!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (9-12-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Are you playing high school sports for the pure pleasure of your sport, or are you using your high school experience as a stepping stone to college sports?

Getting to the college level can be very challenging. Take football for example. There are 774 college football teams (in all divisions). Most states have anywhere from 200-450 high schools that have a football program. Those numbers show the challenges facing today’s high school athletes who want to move on and play at the college level.

This ratio remains about the same, regardless of your sport. The odds are stacked against you. That’s why you should take the time and make the effort to enjoy high school sports. Your sporting days could come to an end at any time!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (9-5-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Swimmer Lilly King (IHSAA state champion from Evansville and Olympic gold medal winner) has been a headliner in the national news.

While her two gold medals have been part of the conversation, it’s been more about her comments and firm beliefs about athletes cheating by using performance enhancing drugs. She believes in fair play.

Despite her young age and participating in the Olympics for the first time, she stood up for what’s right! Then she backed it up by winning the gold medals.

There’s so much to be said about doing things the right way and following the rules. Next time you think about taking a shortcut or doing something knowingly wrong, think again. Someone will eventually call you out!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (5-23-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

In looking back at your classroom and sports performance this past school year, what have you learned about yourself? Hopefully you tasted some success and learned from your mistakes.

But more importantly, I hope you have developed a work ethic and attitude that will benefit you going forward.

Eleven-time Grand Slam tennis champion Novak Djokovic admitted in Sports Illustrated that “there were days and times of my career when I went through a lot of doubt.”

So whether you are a graduating senior or just starting your high school experience, know there will be tough times and a lot of doubt. No student-athlete is exempt! Not even the most successful ones.

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (5-16-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

The end of the school year is fast approaching. It’s no time to slow down and relax. In fact, it’s probably the most important time for the student-athlete. Why?

It’s the final push to your academic year. With summer close by, it is tempting to look ahead and forget how crucial your final exams and final grade point average become. It should be your main area of concentration.

So make it a point to finish these last few weeks with the same enthusiasm you started the school year with. Put a big emphasis on your final exams and your year-end grade point average! Summer will be there waiting.

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (5-9-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Last week was the NFL draft. As always, there were some surprises as to where the college stars landed and which teams would select them.

But regardless, there is always competition. The draft assures nothing.

New Denver Broncos quarterback Mark Sanchez said it best. “If you are confident in your ability, you have no problem helping a guy.”

If you are an upperclassmen, take this suggestion to heart. Always be of help to the young players on your team and encourage them constantly. Your leadership and attitude will truly affect their growth as a player and student-athlete!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (5-2-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus was quoted in Sports Illustrated saying “How many 22-year-olds ask anybody for advice?” He was impressed about the surprising trend of young PGA Tour players visiting him in search of tips.

Who do you look to for advice outside of your parents or coaches? Have you ever thought about reaching out to a former player in your community for a tip or two?

Whether you are 15 or 22, you are never too young to keep learning. Seeking advice from someone older that has experience in your sport could give you a different philosophy and viewpoint on how to improve your game!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (4-25-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

A recent survey of 410 human resource professionals shows that 36% of companies in the U.S. have disqualified job candidates because of concerning information on social media/ online search.

Just this past week an ESPN employee was terminated for an ill-advised post on his Twitter account. Do you get the picture? You must be aware at all times of what you are posting and talking about on social media.

Most student-athletes don’t realize how serious the consequences might be for something they deem non-important when voicing their opinions and thoughts on social media.

Your actions today can affect your future of tomorrow. Don’t be careless or thoughtless with your words!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (4-18-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

All teachers and coaches use the expression “no excuses” from time to time. Have you made excuses for not playing well or making a poor grade in the classroom? It’s easy to place blame on others to cover-up your own deficiencies.

However, making excuses is rarely justified. Not only that, teachers and coaches don’t like hearing about it.

Other than sickness or a justified injury, don’t use a weak excuse if you under-perform. Instead, take accountability and move on to your next challenge. By doing so, you will gain the respect and confidence of all those around you!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (4-11-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Most coaches tell their athletes to be careful about their content when it comes to tweeting. Let’s face it, it’s more fun to tweet about success instead of failure.

However, if you are a high school athlete, chances are you will have more subpar moments than successful ones. It’s part of being an athlete.

PGA golfer Ricky Fowler had one of those bad moments in the first round of the Masters, shooting a high score and giving himself no chance of winning. Critics were making fun of his high-top golf shoes.

His tweet said “I was always taught if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.” How do you react to negative comments and subpar games? Most of us are sensitive and care about how others perceive us.

Can you react in a positive way and make no excuses? Whether you tweet or not, don’t say anything that you might regret later. Failure can be a part of any sporting event and it is nothing to be ashamed of!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (3-14-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

One of the many challenges facing today’s student-athlete is how to avoid burnout. Do you play one sport or multiple sports? Do you train the year around or part time? Have you given up another sport in the last year or two?

Burnout can come from a variety of reasons. Some include putting too much pressure on yourself, having higher expectations than reasonable, and feeling pressure from a coach or your parents.

The best way to avoid burnout is to constantly remind yourself that you play sports for the fun and enjoyment. Don’t ever lose that perspective.

While it’s hard to take time off during the season, be sure to give yourself time away in the off season. Burnout stems from doing the same thing over and over again. Be sure to change training habits in the off season. And most importantly remember, sports is only a game.

Be sure to treat it that way!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (3-7-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

One of the many responsibilities of a coach or teacher is to correct the student-athlete when you do something wrong or need improvement. How are you when it comes to handling constructive criticism or suggestions?

Remember, there are all different styles and deliveries when teaching or coaching someone. Be sure to listen to the message. Some will be negative in the delivery, others will be positive. But filter the delivery and listen to the message.

Handling criticism and instruction will only make you better. Everyone needs improvement, so take those suggestions to help you become a better person, student, and athlete!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (2-29-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Have you ever been leery or unsure of playing for a new coach? Coaching changes are very common in this day and age, and whether it’s moving on from the freshmen team to junior varsity to varsity, every athlete goes through this experience.

How will you adjust? Sometimes you look forward to a change, and other times you will be apprehensive. Regardless, you have to prepare yourself to be ready, especially mentally ready.

A quote from a newly appointed football coach in the SEC said it best. “The team is much more willing than I anticipated, much more eager than I expected, more unified than I ever imagined.”

Change will be much smoother if you and your teammates are willing, eager, and unified! Can you help lead the way?

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (2-15-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Are you familiar with your school’s athletic code of conduct? I’m sure it is discussed at the beginning of each sport as you start that season. All student-athletes need to be aware of the do’s and don’ts of what is expected, in and out of season.

Rules and regulations are laid out and you are expected to follow them. If you have any questions or you are not sure of a rule, sit down with a coach or the athletic director for any clarity.

Following these rules is a no-brainier. Don’t look for shortcuts and exceptions. If you do something wrong, expect to pay the consequences!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (2-8-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

All student-athletes like a pat on the back from time to time. It’s human nature. Are you good at handing out the pat on the back? Do you make a conscious effort to do so?

There’s nothing wrong with complimenting a teammate, teacher, coach or classmate. In fact, I highly encourage it. So many times the student-athlete gets caught up worrying too much about themselves and how they are feeling and forgetting about others that they come in contact with on a daily basis.

Make it a point to give a daily compliment to someone at your school. Be someone who can pick others up and be a positive influence on all of those around you!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (2-1-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Playing team sports can be a fun and rewarding experience. It can also be challenging and frustrating at times.

Regardless, very few teams finish the season with the same starting line-up or personnel that it began the season with. Whether it’s injuries, coach’s decision, or players making big improvements, the end of the season usually looks nothing like the start.

That’s why it is so important that all team members embrace every practice as an opportunity to improve and give themselves a better chance of earning playing time. You never know when your chance will arrive, but chances are you will get your opportunity sometime during a long and arduous season.

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (1-25-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

How do you view your participation in sports and extra-curricular activities? Is it a right or is it a privilege?

Anytime you are part of a school team, your participation is a privilege you have earned. There are rules and guidelines that you must follow or what you have earned can be taken away. There are consequences for bad actions and bad decisions.

In light of two high school girls basketball seasons being cancelled (for girls and fans losing their composure and fighting during the contest), let it be a lesson to all. Sports participation is a privilege and this privilege can be and should be taken away in extreme cases where teams and fans lose focus on the number one priority of any high school sporting event, sportsmanship!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (1-18-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

We have all heard the saying that athletes are made in the off-season. How about good teammates? When are they made? How would you describe a good teammate?

Here are a few attributes of a good teammate: You care as much about your teammates as you care for yourself. You respect your teachers and coaches equally. You feel a sense of community. Winning is more important than individual fame. You set a good example both on and off the field of play.

Good teammates are made by striving to do the right thing all day long and all season long. Being a good teammate is contagious in a positive way. When every player on the team really cares about every teammate, the formula for success is in the making.

Do you have what it takes to be a good teammate?

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (1-11-16)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

After 12 seasons and winning 2 Super Bowls, New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin retired last week. His outgoing speech to the media was how deeply he felt about the importance of fostering team chemistry.

Regardless of what sport you play or at what level you are participating, this quote about team and unity will apply to you.

“My contention is there is a higher ground, a greater purpose. That purpose is team, it is the team concept. Winning, losing, playing hard, playing well, doing it for each other, winning the right way. That’s what motivates and inspires us. Championships are won by teams who love one another, who love and respect one another, who play for and support one another.”

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (12-14-15)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

When it comes right down to it, what separates the elite student-athlete from the one who might under achieve?

Is it all based on talent? Is it understanding the strategy of your sport and how to apply it? Is it about effort and outworking your teammates and opponents?

Whether you are the best player on the team or just trying to earn more playing time, I’ve heard many coaches and former players say over the years, “the most impressive trait of a good athlete is playing within the ability of yourself and not trying to do too much.”

Does your game fit within those parameters? If so, you should find plenty of success and playing time!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (12-7-15)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Does your coach talk with you about the use of social media? Are there specific rules and guidelines initiated by your athletic department? Do you follow the guidelines and expectations?

A tweet with “insensitive language” caused a Massachusetts cheerleader to be banned from her squad for the rest of the season. This should be a reminder to all student-athletes to think twice before posting any questionable material on social media.

What may not seem foolish or insensitive to you could offend someone else. Don’t deter your academic and athletic quests by the push of a button!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (11-30-15)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

What’s your mental approach when you are in a slump or having trouble getting playing time? Do you sulk? Do you feel sorry for yourself? Do you blame the coach or take accountability? How do you react in game time situations, especially in rival games?

Gary Danielson, color commentator for CBS and former college (Purdue) and professional quarterback, said something during a recent broadcast that makes plenty of sense.

“In the biggest games it’s the littlest things that make all the difference.” Sometimes when we look at the big picture, we forget about all the little things that can lead to success.  Pay attention to those little things along the way to lift yourself up when it really counts!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (11-23-15)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Training under supervision is much easier than training when no one is watching. Wouldn’t you agree?

Carli Lloyd, female soccer star and 2015 Sportsman of the Year in Sports Illustrated, gives all of her credit to success to her training when no one was watching.

She almost quit soccer at age 21, but 12 years later she led the USA to the gold in the Women’s World Cup because of her strict training program.

“If a player trains when nobody is watching, she might be able to do superhuman things when the entire world is watching.” Lloyd did!

When you start training for your next season, coaches don’t have to be watching. What you do on your own will make the biggest difference!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (11-9-15)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Athletes are always faced with challenges. One of the toughest is to finish out a game, meet, or match that you have no chance to win.

When you reach that point where you know it’s a loss, how do you react? Do you give up? Do you hang your head? Do you cop an attitude?

How you finish those types of games says a lot about you. Do you still give 100%? Are you still positive with your teammates? Do you make up excuses?

The next time you are involved in a sporting event and the time on the clock tells you it’s a loss, don’t let it reflect on your end of the game behavior. Handle it with class and move on immediately to your next challenge!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (11-2-15)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

The University of Toledo is not known as a college football power, but they find themselves ranked in the Top 20 in the Amway Coaches Poll. There are plenty of reasons why, but the number one reason is their coach, Matt Campbell, and his great approach.

You must admire his philosophy. Here, in a few words, is what Campbell talked about in a recent article in USA Today:

“As much as this is about winning and losing games, we’re still teachers. With everything these guys are going through, it’s hard. We were all 18 or 19 once, but we can’t lose the fundamentals of how to do things the right way from yes sir, no sir, please and thank you’ to how do I carry myself the right way to do the right thing? It’s not just about football.”

Let the simple things in life be the foundation you build your life upon!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (10-26-15)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Everyone that plays athletics at any level will suffer a tough loss from time to time. If you are a Michigan football player, last week’s loss to rival Michigan State is as tough as they come.

Michigan’s punter fumbled the snap and MSU scored with no time left to win the game.  Was it the punter’s fault? Was it a bad snap? Was it a coaching decision? In the long run, it doesn’t really matter.

But one thing I do know is this: never let a play or game, good or bad, define you as a person. What really defines you is what you learn from your sport’s experience. Hopefully it makes you a better person and helps prepare you for future challenges in life!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (10-5-15)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

What traits do you possess that set you apart from the other athletes in your sport? Do you give much thought about the little things that could make a big difference in your performance and playing time?

Too many times young athletes get caught up in the physical portion of their sport, forgetting about the importance of a good mental approach as well. Setting yourself apart from others mentally might be the key for more success and more playing time.

So concentrate on playing smarter by limiting your turnovers (regardless of your sport), and do away with foolish mistakes and mental errors. While no one is perfect, making fewer mistakes because of your mental toughness will give your coach the confidence to count on you when the going gets tough!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (9-28-15)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

I read an article recently about a volleyball coach and her approach to her team about practice.

She stated to her players that they probably tell people all the time, “I have to go to practice, it’s a requirement.” You rarely tell people, “I get to go to volleyball practice. It’s an opportunity.”

What a difference in attitude! How you view something can make a significant improvement in your approach and the results you might get. Regardless of your sport, and whether you are in season or not, why not look at every practice as an opportunity? By doing so, you may find yourself having more fun and getting better results!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (9-21-15)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

One of the many challenges facing the high school athlete is how to respond to the media (school newspaper, local paper, radio or television) after a hard earned victory or a tough defeat.

Athletes are most vulnerable after a tough loss. Choose your words carefully and think about what you want to say before you say it. Don’t make excuses and give credit where credit is due.

After a victory, it’s important to remain humble. There are usually multiple reasons your team wins, so give credit to all of those involved. Short answers are better than long ones.

The more you have the experience of talking with the media, the more comfortable you will become. Win or lose, enjoy the opportunity of your interview. It becomes easier with time!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (9-7-15)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

The start of a new school year is usually fun and exciting. There’s nothing like a fresh start!

How do you keep that excitement brewing? Here are a few suggestions:

Keep up with your studies and make a habit of not falling behind. Eat healthy. Get plenty of rest/sleep. If you are presently involved in a sport, be engaged in the team and pay close attention to all the details it takes to become a contributor whether you start or not.

The first grading period will be here before you know it. Make that your top priority!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (6-1-15)

Don’t fool yourself by thinking that summer vacation is a time to relax if you are a high school athlete. In fact, just the opposite is true. Athletes are made in the summer.

We’ve all heard the saying that actions speak louder than words. I will take it one step further: Bring words to life.

Most athletes complain about playing time or the opportunity to play. Summertime is the time to do something about that. Make this summer the time that you dedicate all your efforts towards becoming better for the next school year!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (5-25-15)

“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

How well do you read your coach? It can be difficult at times because some are outgoing, some keep to themselves, others wear their emotions on their sleeves, and some are just plain hard to read.
Don’t assume that a coach who is pushing you hard doesn’t believe in you; or conversely, if your coach doesn’t challenge you, don’t assume your performance is up to his/her standards.
Coaches will challenge you in different ways. No two coaches are alike. Don’t focus on whether your coach “likes” you as a person. Instead, remember that all coaches are focused on your performance, regardless of how they get their point across!

All content property of Billy Shepherd Sports Inc. 

 

IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (5-18-15)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

How long have you been playing organized sports? Does it ever feel like you aren’t making progress and get in a rut from time to time?

Sometimes what you learn from a game or practice is more important than how you actually played. This is especially true in early season workouts and games.

Too many times athletes worry about today instead of focusing on the end result, and that is, how good you are at the end of a season.

While each practice and game are important, it’s also what you learn day to day that will determine how good you become!
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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (5-11-15)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Most student-athletes are on the go 365 days a year. There is little time off and plenty of pressure to perform at a high level. Do you ever reach a time of satisfaction? Do you enjoy or have fun with your participation? Does you sport consume you?
I feel a key to being successful and having fun is to enjoy your small accomplishments along the way. Whether it’s a good practice, improvement during a game, or just gaining more confidence in your abilities, enjoy those times.
At the end of the day it’s just a game, a sport you hopefully enjoy playing. Treat it that way!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (5-4-15)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

A recent tweet from Indianapolis Star sportswriter Kyle Neddenriep stated that it “Seems obvious but crazy how much opinion of a player can change based on body language. Positive or negative.”

Regardless of your sport, or time of season, college coaches are forming opinions of your skills and attitude. Sure their opinion is based first on your ability to play, but not far behind comes your attitude – seen in your body language.

Whether it’s during a high school game, club sports or AAU, college coaches form an opinion of you based not only on your ability, but how you interact with your coach, teammates and officials.  Make sure you take control of the one thing you can control, and that’s your body language.  It might just be the difference-maker!

All content property of Billy Shepherd Sports Inc.

 

 

IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (4-27-15)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

PGA golfing great Tom Watson has said that he liked to picture legend Sam Snead’s swing when the heat was on.

The same can be said for whatever sport you play. When the pressure is on, visualize an athlete that excels under pressure, and picture his/her success in your mind.

When you get nervous or jittery, think about this technique to calm you down and get you relaxed. Regardless of what routine you use, do so with a positive mindset that produces positive results. Sometimes, seeing is believing!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (4-13-15)

“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

It’s funny how fame works.  A week ago few people knew the name Grayson Allen, unless you were a Duke basketball fan. Now he is known throughout basketball circles in America.

One game and how things can change.  When opportunity knocks on your door, will you be ready to take advantage of it?  Will you be prepared?  Grayson was. He was averaging 4 points per game prior to his national title game performance. When Coach K called his number, he responded.

If you are a substitute or role player for your team, are you going to respond when you are called upon? You may not be in the national spotlight, but your goal should be the same.  When you get your chance, be ready to capitalize on your opportunity!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (3-30-15)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Are you a student-athlete who occasionally disagrees with your coach?  It is not uncommon and as you interact with other adults you will find that differing points of view can be healthy.

Most importantly it is key that you learn to take the initiative (not your parents) and have a one on one discussion to express your concerns and share your perspective.

Hopefully both you and your coach will feel better after the conversation. Your coach has the ultimate authority, but you will be learning a valuable lesson about accepting direction from the person in charge.

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (3-23-15)

“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

While watching the NCAA tournament this past week, it’s evident that college athletes and their teams have a huge advantage when it comes to controversial calls and the use of instant replay.
In high school, once the call is made there is no recourse. Are you able to move on to the next play?  Do you argue with officials?

Keep yourself focused and be sure to move on. Whether it’s a line call in tennis, holding in football, a called strike in baseball, or a block-charge in basketball, officials are going to miss some close calls.

How you bounce back is more important than complaining about a questionable call!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (3-9-15)

“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

For years upon years, teachers and coaches alike complain about how students and athletes don’t perform up to their capabilities.  Could this statement pertain to you in the classroom or field of play?

Pro golf commentator Johnny Miller said during last week’s telecast that “there’s nothing more common than wasted talent.”

Some student-athletes discover too late that they didn’t come close to reaching their potential and untapped ability.  Don’t look back someday and regret that you wasted a great opportunity by wasting your talents!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (3-2-15)

“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Finding a balance between enjoying success and then refocusing for your next challenge is not a simple dilemma.  

While you want to enjoy your successes along the way, it is also very important to move forward and face the next challenge with the same enthusiasm and confidence that made you successful before.

Former soccer great Mia Hamm may have the best philosophy. “Celebrate what you’ve accomplished, but always raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed.”

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (2-23-15)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

Rivalry games/meets/matches have been a big part of sports throughout history. Let’s face it, some games just seem more important than others. Who is your biggest rival? Do you look at the game in a different way?

Every school has that team they want to beat. The buildup before game time is incredible. The team and fans can’t wait for it to start. You get that different feeling in your stomach.

Preparation is no different, but the outcome means more. Once it starts, it is just like any other game. Enjoy the environment, excitement, and the moment.  In most cases, it’s the game that provides you with the lifelong memories of high school sports!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (2-16-15)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

This past week the IHSAA suspended two basketball teams for the remainder of the year because of poor conduct and unacceptable behavior during a game. Players, coaches and officials all share responsibility in preventing this brawl.

Any student-athlete participating in high school sports knows that teams and individuals are successful because of their skills, not intimidation.  There is no place in high school sports for cheap shots and trash talking, let alone fans and players rushing the court.

As an athlete, it’s your responsibility to keep your composure at all times, regardless of the situation. Never let your emotions and actions outweigh the significance of sportsmanship and fair play!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (12-8-14)
“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

All teams will suffer a tough loss sometime during their season. A string of losses becomes known as a losing streak. The question becomes how do you stop the losing, or overcome that tough loss?

Have a short term memory (both in winning and losing), work harder in practice, listen to your coach, and don’t point fingers at the others on your team.

Sometimes you just might be the inferior team. Don’t think about the end result. Instead, focus on the things that you can do to make your team better.

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (11-17-14)“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

    

What kind of body language do you display when you are playing your sport?  Do you wear your emotions on your sleeves, or are you stoic and hard to read?

Most athletes get excited during positive or negative plays during a game.  The key is to make those emotions short-lived and being able to move on to the next play.

Positive body language tends to inspire a team and the coaching staff.  Negative body language does just the opposite.  Set the right example for yourself and your teammates.  Even if things aren’t going your way, don’t let the opponent know!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (11-10-14)“Promoting education based athletics in Indiana”

    

Today’s student-athlete is no different than those of yesteryear. If you make poor choices you will be held accountable and punished for them.

Most kids think they can do questionable things and get away with them.  Someone is likely watching and you will more than likely get caught. You know right from wrong, as well as the rules of your student and sports handbooks.

All students are expected to abide by the rules, but let’s face it, the student-athlete is always held to a higher standard.  Representing yourself in a positive way will benefit you, your school, your family and your community!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (10-27-14)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana”

How is the spirit at your high school? Do you attend sporting events other than the ones that you participate in? Do you socialize with those outside of your sports?

School spirit and school unity depends on every student-athlete to be involved. Make it a habit to support the band, the choir, school plays, and any other activities in your school. By doing so, you are showing that all events at your school matter, not just those on Friday or Saturday nights.

Are you doing your part? Show your school spirit by being a spectator as well as being a participant!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (10-6-14)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana”

At most sporting events, the national anthem is played before the start of the game. How do you show your respect for the flag and our great country?

Do you stand at attention? Do you put your hand on your heart? Before your sporting event, does your coach or team captain encourage the team to do something uniformly?

Last week while watching the Indianapolis Colts game, I noticed quarterback Andrew Luck, hand on heart, singing the anthem as it was being played.

Positive role models are alive and well. Remember, others will be watching you!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (9-22-14)
Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana

The NFL season is off to a rocky start because of the domestic violence cases hovering over the league.  This is putting pressure on team owners to make sure that the players they employ are law-abiding citizens who respect the laws and morals of this great country.

The dynamics of all athletics are changing right before our eyes. All of a sudden character counts. The sad thing is, character should always count.

How can you have a positive effect as a student-athlete on your school, your team, and your community?  Quite simple — always do the right thing.  Sometimes athletes at all levels give the impression that rules don’t apply to them.  Don’t fall into that trap!  Remember, character counts!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (9-15-14)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

Billy Horschel, winner of the PGA-BMW event last week, addressed his social media critics about “choking” the week before.  He hit an errant shot on the final hole to finish tied for second.

While Horschel had a chance to win, he didn’t beat himself up for a bad shot he hit on the 18th hole.  He said in his interview afterwards that he didn’t choke, but hit a very poor shot when it counted the most.

I’m sure he couldn’t wait to redeem himself, and it only took him one week to accomplish that goal.  The next time you drop a pass, miss a serve, or don’t run the time you are expecting, don’t be too hard on yourself.

Never look at failure in one isolated situation as choking.  Instead, look at it as an opportunity for improvement!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (9-8-14)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

This past week the Indianapolis Colts opened their NFL season against Denver and their former quarterback of 14 seasons, Peyton Manning.

Players were asked how Peyton influenced them over the years, and punter Pat McAfee was quoted as saying: “Exhaust yourself to become great and remain great. That’s what I learned from Manning.”

 Do all you can in your four years to be remembered in a positive way, even if it’s in a small way.

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (9-2-14)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

Would you like to be a better student-athlete this school year?  Have you given any thought as to what it might take from you in order to attain your goals?

A good starting point is to take care of the things that fall under your control.  Attitude, work ethic, cooperation, and integrity are a good place to start.  This will help you in the classroom and on the field of play.

And remember, don’t place blame for failure and sub-par performance on others.  Be accountable for all your actions!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (5-19-14)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

All athletes experience game time pressure throughout the season, but there is another type of pressure that is much more difficult to cope with, and that is peer pressure.

Every school year we hear or read about the tragedies that can take place with drugs and alcohol.  I’m sure you know of someone in your circles who has chosen to make that wrong decision.

Don’t let others determine what is right and wrong for you.  Don’t fall victim to peer pressure, and more importantly, don’t jeopardize your future by making a foolish mistake today!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (5-12-14)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

The NFL draft took place this last weekend.  One player had some insight from a family member.  Derek Carr, younger brother of former number one pick David Carr, received the following advice from his older brother for this upcoming season.

David said, and I’m paraphrasing, that people will praise you a lot, and people will critique you a lot, but pay attention to neither.

Regardless of your sport, pay attention to those things that will make you a better player, a better teammate, and a better person on and off the field.  It doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (5-5-14)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is back preparing for the upcoming NFL season, but this comes on the heels of taking six weeks off.

Granted, Luck is a one sport participant, and a pro at that, but it’s very important for all athletes to get away from their main sport and rest the mind and body.

How much time do you take off when a season is completed?  Does it help refresh you?  When you return are you more anxious to play?

The time away will vary from athlete to athlete, but there’s no doubt that it must be done.  Your mind, body, and coach will tell you when it’s time to return!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (4-22-14)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

How do you perform when you are feeling pressure in the classroom or on the field?  Whether it’s on a big test or the final at bat in a ball game, there will come a time when it occurs.

In the Masters golf tournament last week, one of the announcers addressed the issue. He stated that the first sign of pressure is poor decision making, and the second sign is poor execution.

We all feel pressure from time to time.  Relax, refocus and rely on your practice habits.

Your decision making won’t suffer–and you will put the pressure back on your opponent. All content property of Billy Shepherd Sports Inc.

IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (4-14-14)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

Are you on your way out or on your way up?  Are you a senior nearing the end of your high school career, or are you an underclassman with many opportunities ahead?

If you are a senior, make your last impression one that you can be proud of.  Don’t do anything foolish to jeopardize your graduation. Yes, you may be on your way out of high school, but you are really just beginning.

If you are an underclassman, you are on your way up.  You have many opportunities and challenges awaiting you.  Learn from those who have gone before you, and set a good example for those who will follow!

All content property of Billy Shepherd Sports Inc.

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

Injuries have always been a part of the game. Today, with more awareness about the seriousness of concussions, athletes are even more prone to sit out of games and practices in order to fully recover.

However, while an injury might hamper one individual, it could open a door for another. Have you ever been given an opportunity to get playing time because of an injury to a teammate?

The next time you find yourself on the bench and not playing, realize that your chance could come at any time.

While most athletes hope they play because of their ability and not an injury to a teammate, you must be able to put that aside and be ready to perform. Are you up for that challenge?

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (3-10-14)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

The month of March marks the beginning of spring training for professional baseball players. They use these six weeks to prepare and get into shape for their six month season.

How long do you take in your preparation for your sport? Do you prepare the same way for your toughest subjects in school?

A major league manager who was a former player says that doing the little things has more value today than ever before. Spring training is the time to work on those little things.

Whether it’s in the classroom or on the field of play, it’s the little things that will make a big difference in your high school experience. Are you working on the little things?

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (2-24-14)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

All high school student-athletes will tell you that the final score is more important than individual statistics. However, that’s not always the case. Some athletes care more about themselves than they do the team. Some athletes tend to be selfish.

In all team sports the focus of every team member should be on the final score, not the final stat sheet.

Are you willing to make that commitment for your team?

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (2-10-14)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

There are three ways a student-athlete can develop: practicing, watching, and listening.

During the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the high school student-athlete has the opportunity to watch, listen, and read about some of the greatest athletes in the world.

Even though most of the events are ones in which the normal high school student-athlete doesn’t participate, there is still an excellent opportunity to hear the stories, watch the efforts, and observe how athletes handle both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

Enjoy watching the competitions, and use this as an opportunity to take something from these games that will benefit your high school team and yourself!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (2-3-14)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

This has been a difficult winter for the high school student-athlete with all the school cancellations and weather delays. Practices and games have been a constant challenge.

How have you adapted? Can you handle change? Are you able to stay up to date in the classroom? How do you maintain your conditioning?

There’s only one month of the winter sports season left. Your opponents have faced the same issues. Whether it’s illness, injury, or weather, teams are going to be faced with challenging issues. Those who move forward without complaining and making excuses will end up being the most successful when the season comes to a close.

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (1-13-14)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

I’m a firm believer that athletes can learn by watching others. Whether it’s a game you attend or one you watch on television, observe with the idea of trying to learn.

Take the Indianapolis Colts victory over Kansas City a week back, for instance. The Colts overcame a 28 point deficit in the second half and came away with an exciting victory.

Two things I took away from this game. Number one, no lead is ever safe. If you are on the wrong side of the score, never quit playing until the final gun. On the other hand, if you have a lead, you must continue to play hard and execute the game plan until the final buzzer.

So the next time you think you have a game won or lost, remember the comeback by the Colts. You never know which side of the score you might end up on!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (1-6-14)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

Last week Michigan State defeated Stanford in the Rose Bowl. The fact that MSU won was somewhat of a surprise, but what coach Mark Dantonio did in suspending one of his star defenders was even a bigger shock.

While details were never revealed, it was evident that the player involved violated either team rules or the coach’s rules. Coach Dantonio left his star player home and promoted the next man up.

All teams and classrooms have rules. Be sure that you follow those rules so your playing time and position on the team will never be jeopardized. No one player is bigger than the game.

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (12-16-13)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

Paul Patterson, retired basketball coach at Taylor University, was recently named the Silver Medal winner by the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

A quote by him applies to all athletes at every level. “What I’ve learned is hard work is the separator. Our faith grows in the hard things we do. We all want to quit. We all want to cheat when the coach isn’t watching. But the good ones don’t do that.”

Remember, in athletics and in life in general, you are only cheating yourself if you aren’t giving your best in everything you do!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (12-9-13)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

Have you been told by a coach that you must wait your turn? Do you understand the meaning and why a coach might tell you this?

Most athletes aren’t ready physically or mentally to compete at the varsity level when they are 9th or 10th graders. Playing freshmen and junior varsity sports gives you a chance to develop your skills and learn how to play within your coach’s system.

Waiting your turn doesn’t mean that you will never be good enough. Time has a way of taking care of this problem if you show patience, work hard, and continue to improve. Be ready when you no longer have to wait your turn!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (12-2-13)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

Most high school athletes have a role model or someone that they pattern their game after and look up to. Who is that person for you?

Have your ever considered yourself to be a role model? Most high school athletes don’t realize it, but there is a brother/sister, grade school or junior high athlete, or even a younger teammate or classmate that might look up to you.

Are you doing your part to not disappoint or set a bad example for those young people that might look up to you?

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (11-18-13)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

The Philadelphia Eagles official twitter account quoted Coach Kelly about his quarterback Nick Foles, saying that he may not be fleet of foot, but he’s fleet of mind.

What kind of athlete do you consider yourself to be? Most high school athletes lack in speed, strength, or quickness. Are you one of those? How do you make up for those deficiencies?

There’s always a place for the athlete who can think on their feet, remember the plays, is a good teammate, and can react to adversity in a positive way.

The next time you begin to question your athletic ability, remember that coaches everywhere like athletes who have mental strength and sound fundamentals!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (11-11-13)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

The winter sports season is just around the corner. The first grading period is behind us.

Keeping up in the classroom is a year-long challenge, especially for the student-athlete who has practice and workouts on a daily basis.

How are you doing so far? Do you seek help from your teacher if you fall behind? If you don’t understand something, do you ask questions? Do you make studying a priority?

The classroom is no different than the playing court. Your teachers expect your best effort, just like your coaches.

Succeeding in the classroom is on you. Make sure you have a good game plan!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (11-3-13)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

Just last week a college athletic director had to fire two football coaches for being at a party with illegal drugs. They quickly apologized and resigned their positions.

The athletic department issued a statement saying that the university holds you (coaches and athletes) to a higher standard and you must hold yourself to a higher standard.

Making bad decisions can happen to anyone, and some can be life changing. Make sure you don’t put yourself in jeopardy on the decisions you make involving drugs and alcohol. It might cost you a high school season or more!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (10-28-13)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

What does being on a high school team mean to you? In your mind, what differentiates a good team from a bad team?

In team sports you must work as one unit. You must pull in the same direction, you take instruction from your coaching staff, and you always put the team in front of yourself.

Your most successful teams aren’t always the ones with the best talent, but the ones that work together the best.

Working to become a good team is a never ending challenge, but if you learn to care for your teammates as much as you care about yourself, you will be on your way to a fun and rewarding season.

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (10-14-13)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

Do you and your teammates shake the hand of your opponent following your game, meet or match?

Shaking hands and acknowledging your opponent is a long standing tradition that should never go away. It’s not a time for showboating or intimidation.

Even in the most emotional or heartbreaking contests, the right thing to do is to face your opponent and shake hands when the game is over!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (10-7-13)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

Participation in high school sports can come in a variety of opportunities. There’s more to a team than just those who put on a uniform.

Have you ever thought about being a statistician, a student-manager, or volunteering to run the clock or keep the book? Coaches are always looking for those students who want to participate behind the scenes.

Remember, there are a number of ways you can be involved with sports other than playing on Friday and Saturday nights. Jump in there and help out your school and team!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (9-24-13)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

Being a good classmate and being a good teammate go hand in hand. If you are a true student-athlete, you know the importance of both.

In the classroom you lead by example, you follow your teacher’s instructions, and you are always striving to do your best. You never cause trouble or look for trouble. The same should hold true when it comes to athletics.

There is nothing like a teammate that you know you can count on. Make the same assumption in the classroom. Be the person that every teacher and coach never has to worry about.

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (9-9-13)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

The fall athletic schedule is in full swing. How is your season going? What challenges are you and your team facing?

Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said that “Winning is not everything-but making the effort to win is.”

Are you putting forth your best effort or just giving the minimum? Your outcome is never a guarantee, and you will never know what you can accomplish unless you give it your best shot every single day!

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IHSAA Student-Athlete Tip of the Week (9-3-13)

“Promoting education-based athletics in Indiana.”

The start of a new school year is always full of challenges for student-athletes. But one challenge remains constant, and that is how to balance academics and sports.

Your first responsibility always starts in the classroom. Be sure to take care of your academic obligations. Establish good study habits, use your time wisely, and don’t fall behind on your assignments.

If you are playing a fall sport, take the same approach toward your coach and teammates. Be attentive, work hard and prepare every day so you are ready to perform when you get your chance to participate.

Getting off to a good start in the classroom should make you feel good about yourself and help provide you with the proper motivation to be a positive contributor to your school for the entire year.

 

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