W - What's
I - Important
N - Now
Winning is more than a score at the end of a game, it is a lifestyle of prioritizing. There are so many different things you can worry about, like where you are going to go to high school, what friends you will have, what kind of car will you drive, where will you go to college, what major you will have. These thoughts are perfectly normal all in due time. It's time to start thinking about your future, but thinking about it at the right time and always remembering, "what's important now.".
Are you in middle school? If so, what is important now is to enjoy school, sports, and a social life. Take the time to prioritize school and sports, while still having a social life. Parents...this is not the time to worry about college. Have your kids enjoy being kids and having a love for everything they do. That is what's important now in their lives.
Freshmen....what is important now is getting that solid foundation of a GPA in high school. It is easy to maintain a high GPA when you have a good starting point. It is harder to work your way out of a hole. It is also time to register with the NCAA Clearinghouse. This will make it easier moving forward as a recruitable athlete.
Be involved in as much as you can and work on staying athletic. Make sure you have a primary and secondary position and refine those skills going forward. Again, what's important now is GPA and honing in on a primary position, while still being a kid.
Sophomores now is the time to start thinking about what your interests are academically and athletically. It is also time to register for the PSAT's. What is important now is maintaining a solid GPA and practicing taking those standardized tests that are required in the future.
It is also a good idea to visit as many schools as you can that may interest you. If there is a school on the way down or back from a tournament, stop by and check it out. It may give you some great insight as to what you like and do not like about some schools.
Go on unofficial visits if you can afford to. It is a great way to get a feel for schools and teams and where you could possibly fit into the culture and dynamics. Remember, the team that is there now will not be the team that is there when you play.
Juniors, this is your year! What is important now is to take that really high GPA, the athletic ability you have maintained and set yourself up for success. Take the ACT and SAT as many times as you can. Some schools allow you to combine different sections from different dates to make up as high of a score as possible. Give yourself the opportunity to score as high as possible.
Athletically, make sure you have narrowed in on some schools that are your top 10. Be sure to keep in contact with the coaches. Get a feel for if the coaches are going to offer or not. The process is all about you...take advantage of it. Coaches get to recruit everyday. As a student athlete, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Go at your pace and get everything you have ever wanted out of it. Get the offer and then go home, talk it over with your family, and those who are most important to you. Make sure it is the right fit. There is no rush to this decision. If a school really wants you; they will wait a reasonable amount of time.
Once the decision is made, commit!
Seniors, uncommitted or committed. It is not too late! What is important now is to maintain that GPA, keep playing!! This is not the time to take off and rest. Stay in shape and continue to work on your game and improving your skills.
If you are uncommitted, trust the process. Know that there will be a place for you, regardless of it is a walk on position somewhere.
If you are committed, go on the official visit and enjoy every minute of it. Sign your NLI in November or April. Make sure to savor that moment. It is truly a unique opportunity!
Overall, if you consider W.I.N. in everything you do, in every moment, you will enjoy the process, you will stay the course, and fulfill your dreams of becoming a college athlete. What's important now is to enjoy being wanted by some school out there :)