A Letter to Walk-Ons

This year I have a group of athletes who are walking-on at the college level and nothing makes me prouder than when one of my athletes takes on the challenge of walking-on.

It’s a mindset…

It’s them saying, “I know they didn’t believe in me while I was in high school, but, I will prove everyone wrong.”

Walking-on takes confidence, extreme work ethic, and a willingness to sacrifice everything in order to achieve a goal.

You see, for an 18-year-old kid, this is one of the hardest things to do while in college…

They will be looked at as an extension of the actual team.  The scholarship players will keep their distance and the walk-on won’t have the access to everything a full scholarship athlete does.

It’s hard.  Like, really damn hard…

Not to mention, these are young kids who just want to contribute and feel like a part of the team.

At times things will get tough.  They won’t get reps at practice, not all the coaches will know their names and they won’t dress for home games.

In my opinion, my job is to not only take care of their strength and speed training but, also to mentor and counsel my athletes to make the best decisions possible.

I’ve been at the highest levels of collegiate sports and I’ve seen first-hand the struggles a walk-on will face, especially in their first year.

Before one of my athlete’s walk-on, what I tell them is this…

  • You cannot quit because it’s hard
  • You cannot quit because you feel like an outcast
  • You cannot quit because the workload it too much
  • You cannot quit because you’re not getting playing time

Athletics teach you a lot about life and there is no better teacher than walking-on at the collegiate level.  You will learn how to earn your success.  It will teach you that nothing happens overnight and that only with consistent effort you will see results.

If you make the decision to walk-on you damn well better see it through.  If you don’t, you are just teaching yourself to quit when things get hard.  The reality is that, at some point, you’ll look back and have regrets about quitting because you know you did not give it your all.

But, if you push through and see the process to the finish line, you will be successful at anything you do because you’ve taught yourself the value in hard work and dedication.

The deal is this, I could care less if one of my athletes goes pro or is on ESPN.  For me, I gauge the success of my program on if my athletes understand the following…

  • That life is hard and nothing will be handed to you
  • If you want something you’re going to have to work for it
  • Working hard for a day or a week will not cut it. It’s going to take years
  • If you commit to something you better see it through

At the end of the day, a strength coaches roll is to get their athletes to a point where when placed in a tough situation they can be successful.  I want my athletes to take what they learned in athletics and transfer that into a successful life where they attack challenges and tough circumstances head-on with an unwavering pursuit.

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