As a student-athlete, Michael Robinson never fantasized about playing in the NFL or winning a Super Bowl.
Robinson instead practiced visualization techniques to stay motivated and focused. He also appointed an advisor (his older brother) to hold him accountable as he pursued his academic and athletic goals.
“When your eyes are fixed on the prize, your priorities fall right into order,” Robinson wrote as a guest contributor for STACK. “You have to ask yourself what you want to accomplish … which is sometimes tough to do at any age, but especially when you’re young.”
After winning a Super Bowl last season with the Seattle Seahawks, Robinson is working to impart those practices to the students in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia—and he’s doing it with a fantasy football twist.
Robinson started the Team Excel pilot program last year at his alma mater, Varina High School. According to ESPN.com, it plays like a “reverse fantasy program,” where 30 freshmen student-athletes are divided into three teams in a competition for points based on grades, attendance and community service.
Robinson led a team while his Seahawks teammates Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch “managed” the others (Wilson’s team emerged victorious.)
The ESPN.com story, “Making academics a fantasy sport,” reports that only one student dropped out of Team Excel, and 59 percent of the participants raised their GPAs. Lynch’s team had a 10 percent overall improvement in grades.
After eight NFL seasons, the 31-year-old Robinson is contemplating retirement. He claims that his time with the students in Richmond was even more rewarding than this past year’s Super Bowl victory. He says, “My goal is to affect people in a positive way, so I kind of look at this as the start. Honestly, I’ve been waiting my entire life for this point in my career.”
The Team Excel initiative isn’t Robinson’s first venture in helping student-athletes. He has served as a pro athlete contributor on the STACK network, covering the topics of leadership, goal setting and college recruiting. You can also check him out on the Real Rob Report.