I was 30 minutes late to my good friend's baby shower this weekend. I woke up late, took too long to get ready, and then got stuck in traffic on the way there. It was one thing after another—but all things that would have been non-factors had I planned properly. My anxiety was building, and I felt terrible about my lack of consideration for my friend and those hosting and attending her celebration. (Side note: Here are some tips on dealing with anxiety as an athlete.)
It was beyond rude on my part.
Then, as if I hadn't learned my lesson, I was taking the Amtrak train back to Chicago the next day, and you guessed it: I was late.
Except you know what happens when you're late for the train. It leaves without you.
So you can imagine the salt-in-the-wound feeling I got—while I was waiting at the train station!—when I received a Google alert about this article from Forbes on why being late is unacceptable. To name a few reasons: It's disrespectful, costly, and harmful to you and your reputation.
Punctuality will make or break your first meeting with a coach
The moral of my story is that you as a student-athlete should make punctuality a priority. It really does speak volumes about who you are and the respect and gratitude you have for other people and their time and resources. Being late to school can have a negative impact on your grades, your reputation and your reliability.
It can also send you running extra laps at practice or get you benched during a game. And if it's bad enough, habitual lateness could result in your being kicked off the team or blowing your first meeting with a coach.
Here are a few suggestions to help you stay on top of things, especially things as important as a first meeting with a coach and giving him or her the exact first impression you want to give.
- Live your life by this mantra: "To be early is to be on time; to be on time is to be late." (I've also heard "5 minutes early is on time; on time is late; late is unacceptable," but I think my mantra is better.)
- If you're missing early morning appointments because you're having trouble waking up, make sure you're getting the right amount of sleep. Like Goldilocks, you don't want too much or too little. Although I bet for many student-athletes, sleep is way too little.
- Have a back-up plan. What happens if your football team only has one quarterback and he gets injured? Tough situation, right? Similarly, if you count on someone for a ride, have a parent, a friend or a parent of a friend willing to step in if your ride cancels or is late.
- Own up to it. If you do happen to be late, try to disrupt things as little as possible when you arrive. But be sure to approach your coaches and apologize at an appropriate moment. Believe me: They noticed you were late, and owning up to your tardiness is a sign of respect and maturity.
Our scouts can talk you through other aspects of your first meeting with a coach—and your recruiting process in general. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.