From a very early age, I've always been told I would never make it as a Division I athlete. Today, I am showing everyone that ever doubted me that the "impossible" truly is possible.
1. Be patient
I'm sure you've heard the phrase "trust the process" and joked about it. Well, it's no joke. We are all so eager for results; we crave immediate success, but unfortunately, life doesn't work that way. I am a firm believer that there is a time and place for everything, and good things will come with time. I promise you, your time will come and you'll be just in the right place. That coach you've been wanting to come watch you will show up, and you will have the game of your life. Though you may feel so anxious and ready to commit to a school or go on a visit to your dream school, you cannot rush it. Remember, even if the school does not end up being your top pick, there is a place that you will fit in perfectly and end up falling in love. Keep your options open, don't count anything out, and eventually, your time will come.
2. Be humble
I believe that working in silence speaks a thousand words. Everyone on the court or field will notice your improvement. People can brag about how good they are and what school their going to, but that doesn't mean anything. Most of the people I know that were arrogant in their high school careers ended up de-committing and unhappy at their current school (not to be a negative Nelly or anything). Stay humble and you will achieve anything you have ever wanted. Gloating and basking in self-glory brings nothing but negativity to you and your athletic journey. Those who work hard behind the scenes are those who achieve the most. The good guy always wins in the end.
3. Be stubborn
I know, I know, I just said to be humble, but being stubborn is also very important. When I say stubborn, I don't mean cocky and entitled. I mean be persistent, never stop grinding, and if you want something, go get it. Good things are not just handed to you, you have to work for them and continuously tell yourself that you can do it. You can do what people think you're incapable of, you can prove people wrong, and you can be the best player you can be. It's all a matter of having that dream and not taking "no" as an answer.
4. Be hungry for success
Practice makes perfect, repetition creates results, and drive leads to domination. What I'm trying to say is, don't walk away from something if you don't get it the first time. Failing is learning, and it is okay to make mistakes, but if you give up right away, you will never get to where you want to be. You cannot fear failure; real athletes accept failure and grow from it. You have to be hungry for success and have the determination to master whatever you are trying to do. There will never be a time in your athletic career where you've reached a limit of what you can do. You can do anything. Whether it's a little skill, a new skill, or a skill you never thought you could have, you have to keep working at every aspect of the game. There will always be people who will be jealous of you and put disrespect on your name, but you have to take all of those comments and channel them into a passion to do better and prove those people wrong.
5. Believe in yourself
The main reason I am where I am today is because I believed in myself. If you don't have faith in yourself, who will? It all starts with the mentality that you are worth no less than anyone else. As I said before, some people will always doubt you or be envious of you, but you cannot let that effect your mental game. You are stronger than you think you are, you just need to have the confidence and trust in yourself to make your dreams a reality. Ever heard the phrase "fake it until you make it"? Well, tell yourself you're going to "fake it until you BECOME it". When you step in between the lines and it's game time, hold your head high, put your shoulders back, and show some swag. Eventually, you will no longer need to "fake it"; you will become the person you once strove to be.