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What Top High School Athletes Have in Common

High school student-athletes have a lot on their plates. Besides the responsibilities that come with being a student (homework, studying for tests, and getting involved with clubs), student-athletes have the added responsibilities that come with being an athlete. It can be a tough juggling act, but some high schoolers manage to find a good balance and thrive.



As tryouts and pre-seasons approach, keep in mind what top high school athletes have in common.


Organization may not be glamorous, but it’s mandatory. Juggling a school schedule, a sport schedule, and trying to achieve success on the field, while getting good enough grades to stay eligible, isn’t an easy feat.


Top HS athletes make good use of their days from the time their alarm goes off to the time their head hits the pillow. They are organized.


They focus on the task at hand. When they’re in school, they focus on school. When they’re at practice or getting ready for a game, they focus on that and leave thoughts of homework or studying for that exam until after the practice or game. This ability to stay in the present and focus on the task helps them be as successful as possible in both school and sports. Giving 100% focus and effort to one thing at a time is better than giving 50% to two things at once.


They prepare in advance. They have their schoolwork, lunch, and equipment ready for the next day before they go to bed. This alleviates any stress about forgetting cleats or a glove and not being prepared for practice.


They know when to work and when to relax. Because their schedules are so packed, free time is limited, but oh so enjoyable. So, during the school day, they use study halls and free periods effectively to get some homework out of the way to free up time later. Then, after practice and dinner, they have a lighter load of work and therefore hopefully have some time before bed to relax.


This organization gives them structure, which helps them find enough balance in their lives to stay motivated and focused in order to be successful in their sport.


Top HS athletes are good leaders. This doesn’t mean that every top HS athlete is the team captain or the player who rallies the troops in the locker room at half-time (although it could!). Leadership comes in different forms, including vocal leadership and leading by example. Top HS athletes fall in one category or another, or show some combination.


Those who lead by example are the ones who are always prepared to practice and compete with focus and intensity (and, importantly, all of their equipment!). They are the ones who help set up drills or bring in equipment after practice, and the ones who are first to step up to the line for conditioning. They show respect to both the coaches and their teammates and follow the team rules.


The more vocal leaders are the ones who pick up teammates when they are struggling in a practice or game or need a little extra push. They talk to teammates when they are out of line or going against team values. They can be heard on the field or from the sidelines encouraging teammates and giving helpful instructions.


Whether they’re the quiet leader by example, the vocal leader, or find themselves somewhere in the middle, top HS athletes set themselves apart by being leaders on their teams.


Like it says above, it’s not always easy being a student-athlete, juggling so many responsibilities and tight schedules. Top HS athletes make it work because they have drive. They are motivated and determined to play.


Athletes are motivated by different things. Some might want to win, others want to break their own personal records, and still others want to stay involved and have fun. No matter their reason, top HS athletes are driven to give it all they’ve got and to see how far they can push themselves.


This drive is what pushes them to stay a little later after practice to take a few more shots on goal or from the foul line, to ask coach for some personalized feedback to help them improve, and to spend time before games thinking about what they want to focus on in order to play their best. It’s also what helps them stay focused during study halls or when doing homework after dinner because getting schoolwork done frees up time to be an athlete.


Every athlete has a coach, but not every athlete is entirely coachable.


Coachable athletes are athletes who listen to and accept feedback from coaches and teammates that will help them improve. Not only do they listen to the feedback, but also they put it into action. They don’t see feedback as insulting or decide the coach doesn’t know what she’s talking about. They reflect on it and take from it what will help them.


Coachable athletes set goals. This gives them a focus during practice, which shows the coach that they’re committed. It also gives them an opportunity to talk with their coach, sharing their goals and getting feedback about how to improve and how to help the team.


Coachable athletes understand their role on a team. That means that they know what is expected of them and what they need to do to help the team. If they don’t understand, they know they need to communicate with the coach. If they don’t like their role, they find a way to recognize how it contributes to the team, and they make an effort to value that contribution.


Top HS athletes are coachable. A big part of how they become top athletes is with the help of their coaches, so it’s important that they know how to communicate with their coaches and accept and apply coach feedback.

Organization, leadership, drive, and coachability set athletes apart. For a high school athlete, these skills are great preparation for playing in competitive clubs outside of high school and playing at the collegiate level. They prepare athletes to make the transition smoothly and to use the resources available to achieve both athletic and academic success.


If you’re interested in becoming a top HS athlete and setting yourself up for success on the field, reach out to us!


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