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The annual football All Saints Bowl will take place at West Catholic on Saturday, October 27!

7 mistakes many athletes don’t recognize until they get older

Everyone makes mistakes, especially in sports. It’s how athletes respond to those misfires that helps them learn and grow.

Not all failures happen on the field, and sometimes, young athletes – especially those who shine during competition – have a difficult time identifying their flaws until much later in life when it’s too late.

Strongerteam.com offered seven mistakes student-athletes can make but often don’t realize until their playing careers are over.

1. Only doing the minimum: Talent will win the day at the youngest levels, and many good athletes failed to become great because they didn’t work hard all the time at practice. As players get older and the talent evens out, this becomes even more apparent.

2. Taking downs off: Some wide receivers don’t block or finish their routes if the play goes to the other side of the field. Some running backs don’t execute their fakes if they aren’t getting the ball. This can’t happen. Teams find their most success only when all 11 players do their jobs all the time.

3. Focusing on numbers: There’s only one statistic that truly matters – wins. But there are athletes at every level who get caught up in personal numbers, even to the detriment of the team.

4. Trying to control everything: Whether yelling at referees or micromanaging teammates, athletes need to focus on their own play and leave the rest to the coaches.

5. Taking gambles: Whether it’s quarterbacks going for the long bomb over a checkdown, running backs losing yards by bouncing outside, or linebackers missing tackles for the big hit, players who make smart decisions best help their teams and find success comes more often.

6. Too much pride: Players need confidence, but they also must be coachable. When the play calls for someone to zig, they can’t zag, or the whole thing blows up.

7. Lack of commitment: We all need a life outside of football, but once an athlete signs up for the season, they must be all-in for practices and games.

4 ways bad grades can ruin your athletic career

A familiar story is heard in schools across the country – an athlete who had all the talent in the world, but couldn’t do the job in the classroom. Often it’s too late before a high school superstar realizes academic success is just as important as achievements on the field.

While four years fly by, there are always opportunities for athletes to turn their academic struggles around so they don’t decimate their potential as athletes.

1. You won’t be viewed as a leader

Most athletes want their coaches, teammates and community to view them as a leader. Regardless of any on-field heroics, a combined lack of effort and success in the classroom will lead teammates to look elsewhere for leadership.

“Coaches look for their best players to convey their program principles and philosophies, because the best players often have a heavy influence on the team as a whole, especially younger players,” Hammer. said. “The first and foremost (principle and philosophy) will always be academics, because academics are necessary to achieve the goals the coach is trying to push the athlete toward.”

2. Chances of being a team captain are out the door

The honor of being chosen team captain is arguably the highest honor any individual athlete can achieve. If an athlete has proven to not be able to get the job done academically, there’s no way that athlete can be trusted as someone to represent the team in that way.

“Simply put, most teams have academic requirements in order to be a captain,” Hammer said. “If a student-athlete has bad grades, it shows teachers, coaches and administrators they don’t take pride in everything their name is attached to, on the field or off.”

Every single player on a team is expected to represent the program in all aspects. This is especially true of team captains.

“(Keeping up your grades) is an extremely important characteristic in a captain because all coaches want captains, assistant coaches, booster club members and everyone else affiliated with their program to always represent the program in a positive light.”

3. Your accomplishments on the field aren’t as appealing

Any high school athlete’s outstanding, game-winning performance can be overshadowed by that same player’s complete lack of effort and discipline in the classroom.

“If academics aren’t a priority, your career won’t advance to the scholarship NCAA level,” Hammer said.

Hammer goes into further detail about the academic policy that leads NCAA schools to hesitate when recruiting next-level caliber players who don’t possess next-level academic work ethic.

“There’s a sliding scale with core GPA classes like English, math, social studies, science, foreign language, psychology,” Hammer said. “There must be a certain level of this sliding scale (grades) met in order to be able to accept a scholarship. Many schools won’t admit you without certain required grades achieved for this scale.”

When college recruiters come to check out a player, they’ll cross off even the best athletes from their target list if they know they aren’t performing in class at an acceptable standard.

“Schools have to be mindful of their APR, or academic progress rate,” Hammer said. “This is a number that takes into account what classes a student is taking as well as their progress toward their degree and the percent of players that get their degrees.

“If a student is likely to hurt a school’s APR, and they can get a similar student with great academic prowess, the school will opt for the more academic player every time because of the APR rules.”

4. You begin to gain a negative reputation

Even the best athletes can be followed by the stigma of poor performance in the classroom.

“As a student-athlete that’s often in the public eye, you have to realize your character is based on your total body of work, not just how many tackles you had Friday night,” Hammer said.

If athletes take that drive, passion and determination that’s exemplified on the field and apply it to their schoolwork, their reputation will remain pristine.

“If you can learn plays and be responsible to work hard in the weight room in order to do a great job on the field on Friday nights, people expect you to put that same effort and focus into the classroom and everything else you do,” Hammer said. “Your every action is a resume for whatever you want to become. It just isn’t enough to be great on the field. You have to build your resume to become what you want to be.”

 

by coach Ben Hammer

5 ways to captain your team

Being a team captain is both an honor and privilege. The position carries a weight of responsibility that requires the player be “all in.”

Longtime USA Football U.S. National Team coach Aaron Brady knows what it takes to develop leadership. He believes leaders are born off the field.

Brady lists several traits that define true team leadership, including communication, leading by example and an infectious attitude.

 

Let’s build on those three necessary traits and look even deeper into five more building blocks on how team captains approach leadership:

1The team captain is the fiercest competitor on the field

Nobody outtrains, outperforms or outdoes the team captains. They are the example to follow. Other players emulate their work ethic.

Is your team captain the fiercest competitor on the team?

2. The team captain possesses the highest mental strength and positive attitude of anyone on the team

Just like players emulate a captain’s work ethic, they’re drawn to and imitate their attitude as well. They don’t allow trash talk or let teammates degrade and criticize each other. They do allow positive encouragement and constructive criticism – the kind that builds up and makes players better.

Does your team captain demonstrate the highest mental strength level on the team?

3. The team captain keeps it 100 – open and honest at all times

Jeff Janssen, owner of Janssen Sports Leadership Center, says, “Your best leaders keep it real. They are honest with coaches and teammates and earn their deep sense of trust. They honor and follow through with their commitments so they are the most responsible and reliable people on the team.”

Is your team captain open, honest, and trustworthy?

4. The three C’s of leadership required for every team captain

As laid out by sports psychologists Larry Lauer and Kevin Blue, a team captain must be:

  • Caring (undeniable passion for the game and well-being of the team)
  • Courageous (willing to step up; becoming a model of courage and dedication)
  • Consistent (giving 100 percent effort in every practice and game)

Does your team captain possess and practice the three C’s?

5. Team captains think and act for the ultimate good of the team

They mentor fellow players, with tips and advice on how to improve their skills and overall game. They teach how to perform as a unit, correct ball hogs, talk up players with less confidence and promote trust between team members.

Does your team captain think and act for the betterment of the whole team?

If you’re a head coach, use these five building blocks to assess your team captains. Do they possess the traits listed?

If you’re a team captain, do you practice the five building blocks within your team?

As a leader, you should always self-evaluate and improve your leadership skills. Stack these building blocks in your life and team to create a strong structure for success.

Michelle Hill, the Strong Copy QB at Winning Proof, helps athletes tell their stories by ghostwriting books. She works exclusively with pro athletes, coaches, team owners, and other sports professionals, to move their book idea from concept to publication, from the Red Zone to the End Zone.