developing career and college-bound champions
The following is an excerpt from my book Coaching Champions For Life:
I chose the title of this sub-section very carefully. Most students choose their college without any thought being given to what career path they want to pursue. This is backward. Potential career paths must be chosen first; then a decision is made whether college is even necessary to pursue those careers. If so, a process can be used to determine which colleges are the best ones to prepare the student for those careers. Whether a sport can be played in college is not part of this process until it is determined which colleges are the best ones to prepare the student for their career.
In other words, the most common mistake made by the athletes and their families is getting caught up in what the college will provide athletically (including whether the athlete will receive a scholarship) and not giving appropriate consideration to what the college will provide academically.
An athletic career can be over in a second for a variety of reasons. An athlete should always ask, "If my playing days were over, would this college be the best fit for me given my other career goals?" In other words, if I were not an athlete, would I be attending this college? If not, the athlete should not enroll there to begin with. You play your sport in college only if the college is the best choice for your education and career. First, you choose your best college choices based on academic and career factors and if you can play your sport at one of those best options fantastic. If not, your days of playing your sport in school are over and you focus on the real reason you are in college - to receive the best education possible to help you pursue a career you are passionate about for life.
Your sport is what you do; it is not who you are. Your sport is an extra-curricular activity, not your career. An athlete needs to choose a college first as if he or she were not an athlete.
I have noticed a very disturbing trend with the players I am coaching recently. If the player has been with me for several years and when they are offered a college scholarship to play baseball, they accept it even if the school does not offer quality academic programs in areas they would consider a career. The players cannot bring themselves to quit playing baseball in school when they have worked so long and so hard to get to where they are. I understand their feelings, but this is a huge mistake!
Their days playing a sport as a student-athlete will come to an end very soon and what will the player be left with? Great memories and a feeling of accomplishment, yes, but ultimately, the player just has a piece of paper for something the player is not passionate about. His past has great memories, but his future has very little promise.