Moving Forward Healthily

Mark Kertenian

Whether this read be a "reminder", a "new learn", or a "save for later", please consider that this message comes from many sources that care about the long term development of successful young athletes (in and out of the game you play).

For most of you here, players and parents, this is a time for pursuing dreams and creating futures. It is concerning when these natural and desirable pursuits manifest into distress and aggravation. The mission at hand is for you to once again fall in love with the moment you are in, today, which is how any sustainable future is created and how time is valued.

Your sport concerns can be many. What if I don't get in to the school of my dreams? What if they pick someone else? What if they didn't see me? All real questions which prove that nothing is perfect. Doubt is your opportunity to play through. You see, as any superior achiever would admit, hard work and preparation equate to the foundation of a successful performer who wins over the course of time. It is the long term capable athlete that is most valued amongst a group when, stay with me, measured over the course of time. In short, invest in yourself when things aren't perfect.

So what keeps a player and family from valuing the day? What forces the mind into a more anxious state that remains hyper towards the possibility of an undesirable outcome(s)? Anything from recruiting woes, playing time concerns and fears, to a simple loss of simplicity in training aka "paralysis by analysis" can affect the value you place on today. When we dream big the stress of it can get big as well. This is normal. However, it is necessary to counter the stress and remind ourselves as parents, and players, to remain determined in the moment to prepare, enjoy, learn, and play.

As a former recruiter, I'll share the blanket discussion I've had with prospects and families who shared similar career timing to you now. "It's not about how or when you are recruited that will sustain you as a collegiate athlete. You will see many players around you receive scholarships and roster spots that are on a fast pace to the harsh realities of not getting what they think they are going to receive - a starting role, All American status, etc. It's actually more about who you are and who you are prepared to be once you are there." The future destination is best prepared for with hard work and learning versus the hype and temporary excitement of the recruiting step. We should all aim to earn the right to be described as reliable, trustworthy, collaborative, and adaptable.

Today is your chance to hone your capabilities in earning the qualities mentioned. Where do you invest today? Your current team. Those players, coaches, and support staffs are your environment to contribute towards in this way; to positively impact your current environment needs to be considered your ultimate priority. This is healthy.

There are no guarantees you will get what you want when you want it, that's reality. What you WILL earn by evolving your stress into positive action, is an outlook and a capability that will carry you wherever you land, whenever you get there. When recruiting gets you mystified, invest in yourself. When your college freshman year poses challenges you did not anticipate, reinvest in your learning and evolve as a person. What you will learn is a deeper trust in your actions and a growth in confidence that is not attached singularly to external rewards like a scholarship or playing role. Your greatness and pursuits spread more freely this way and you broaden yourself as an individual.

Parents, keep away from the fear based dialogue many of our games bleachers and other families offer. Keep your mind free of this so that you can better support your player. Players, admire not the celebratory player who boasts about himself, instead stay focused on your values and preparation and remember that those other players have work to do as well. Compete every chance you get. Train and play so hard that your current team respects you for what you bring to the table daily, regardless of outcomes. Build yourself up from the "inside out." Fear not the greatness you can only earn over time and through the choices you must make to earn.

Make the right choices and then make some more.

Mark is a former Division 1 baseball coach who was the recruiting coordinator at three Division I universities (Cal State Northridge, University of Nevada, and Florida International University). Mark now manages in the minor leagues for the Los Angeles Dodgers yet remains passionate about supporting the growth of amateur athletes through their own ability to create opportunities and positive visuals for what they are capable of.

You can follow him on Twitter @KertenianMark


SoCal Preseason All-State (Invite Only) CA 01/05 JSerra High School
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