Shunzel, Murphy Inspire at Senior Banquet
2) Appreciate the support system around you - Players who are about to enter the world of college level athletics will have assistant coaches, athletic trainers, academic advisors, sports psychologists, strength and conditioning coaches, nutritionists and many other incredible people around them. These people's jobs are to support and guide you and the majority of them are fantastic at what they do and vastly underpaid. They will all think, talk, worry and care about you WAY more than you will ever realize. Once you graduate from college you will have to pay thousands upon thousands of dollars for these type of professionals, but in college they will be given to you. Get to know them, soak in their knowledge, use them positively, and most of all appreciate them, be grateful for them and thank them.
3) Expect it to get tough, and when it does, find a big mirror and use it - College will no doubt be some of the best times and memories in your life, but these will also be some of the most challenging years. Struggles adjusting to college life, being away from home, sitting the bench, getting yelled at, finding your place socially, dealing with constant traveling and missed classes, along with many other obstacles to come, will make this experience really, really tough. So when it gets tough, and it WILL get tough, you can either fall into the trap of our easy, instant gratification route and transfer on a whim, give up easily, never learning to struggle and work through failure...OR you can use your mirror to look yourself in the eyes and ask yourself what you're made of. You can learn to love the struggle, challenge yourself to get better on and off the court and allow yourself to fail and grow. When it gets tough, will you use your mirror?
4) If you don't know your WHY, find it - As a student-athlete, my why was because I absolutely loved playing volleyball, I was addicted to competing with my teammates, and I knew I wanted a college degree to get a good job, make money and support a family. As a coach, my why is because I love helping young people develop, love supporting my family, love representing something bigger than myself, still love the game and absolutely still love competing. If your why is because you got a scholarship, are good at this, or your parents want you to do it, you're going to struggle and won't find happiness. There's tons of great WHY's out there. Find yours and make them worthwhile.
5) Enjoy it - We live in the greatest country in the world that has given us opportunities that billions of other people could never dream of. American college athletics is singularly unique in the world in that we combine high level athletics and university level academics. The support and resources you will have at your fingertips here in college in the States are significantly more than you will ever experience again, even in the professional ranks overseas. You (and your parents) have worked incredibly hard, sacrificing years of your time, energy, and money to be in this position. You never know if it will end in 4-5 years or if it will end tomorrow, so enjoy everything about it. Enjoy the good and the bad, the easy and the hard, the fun and the miserable, and allow your journey to be extraordinary.
Advice to live by. Thanks, Keith, for sharing.