Two Keys for Success at the Next Level

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Michigan Football Practice

Are you ready to step on campus and compete at the Division I level? What does it take to get there, and how can you be prepared for the first day of practice?

D-I athletes are blessed with high expectations. When you walk onto your campus for the first time as a student, you need to be as prepared as possible. I suggest focusing on two big factors over these next few months: character and conditioning. These qualities will help you get ready for the next level.

Teams thrive when they have athletes with strong character—athletes who take pride in doing what's right. These athletes put the team before themselves, fulfill all academic requirements and social responsibilities, and give back to the community that supports them on and off the field.

Being exposed to as many character-building aspects as possible prior to college will benefit you greatly. Some example activities to seek out are: community service, traveling when and where possible, and getting involved in the arts, dance or music. Or read about history and the life experiences of others. Challenge yourself to grow beyond team commitments and events.

Demonstrating strong character and good values in multiple aspects of the college experience can be extremely rewarding. Expand your comfort zone and help those around you. Your dynamism will not only help your own game, it will raise the level of those around you. At the college level, a "good" teammate isn't simply someone who passes you the ball—it's someone who is more than an athlete.

Conditioning: the time spent in practice separates the strong from the weak. Yes, training makes you better on the field, but conditioning challenges you to push through intense fatigue and become stronger.

Next time you're on the line for a conditioning session, think of it as an opportunity to get better—physically and mentally. Challenge your teammates by giving your best, always doing that one more sprint. It could make a difference in the fourth quarter when you need confidence in your strength to outlast an opponent.

Your level of conditioning can determine your success or failure when you move up to the next level. Imagine having to practice for three hours against the best players on your team. How tired would you be both mentally and physically? Your teammates at the next level will all be the best players from their high schools, so take the time to condition yourself. Your success depends on it.

Hear more about the importance of these two factors and how they can help you by listening to this interview with Anthony Scire and Shawn Webb.

Check out Coach Taylor's SMARTER Team Training podcast below.


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