Your talent may have secured you that roster spot, but it doesn’t mean you’ll keep it. Staying on the team means displaying certain characteristics on and off the field. Don’t fall victim to the following errors and forfeit your valuable position.
Losing your academic eligibility
It can be a struggle to budget your time between the demands of schoolwork and sports. But to maintain your eligibility for extra-curricular activity, you must place academics first. Your top priority is to get good grades in your courses. This will keep you eligible to try out for sports and preserve your roster spot on the team. Practice good study habits year-round for academic success. (See Josh Smith on Motivation and the Importance of Academics.)
Neglecting your health
Before you can even think about trying out for a sport and landing a roster spot, you need to pass a physical. Following a healthy lifestyle is within your control. Improve your chances by:
- Consuming a balanced diet with nutrition from the basic food groups
- Getting adequate sleep (7-9 hours per night)
- Performing regular exercise
- Stretching daily to enhance flexibility
Failing to put the team first
The familiar coaching cliché, “There’s no ‘I’ in Team,” is one of the best tips to gain admiration and respect, not only from coaches but also from your teammates. Be an inspiration and role model in the eyes of your peers and coaches with these suggestions:
- Be on time for practices and games
- Refrain from bragging about your accomplishments
- Encourage teammates to succeed by praising their productivity
- Comfort teammates when they’re discouraged by a negative performance (e.g., costly errors, strikeouts, fumbles)
- Display enthusiasm (passion) and positive emotion rather than disinterest and lethargy at practices and games
- Make an effort to correct your own on-field mistakes by devoting extra time before and after team practices
Losing your cool in the heat of the moment
Unsportsmanlike conduct—like arguing with officials, taunting opponents or berating teammates—can cost you a roster spot, especially if you are suspended for several games.
Bottom line: Losing your composure is a no-win situation. It can result in a devastating team loss and bump you out of the starting lineup. (Learn how to Keep Your Cool in the Heat of the Moment.)
A long sports season can sap your energy, negatively impacting your mental and physical performance in practices and games, and possibly knocking you out of the starting lineup. Be a positive influence on the team by staying focused throughout the season.