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Recently, I received an email from a reader seeking advice on how she could improve her chances of receiving a college athletic scholarship. She first wanted to know if I knew of any private coaches who could help improve her times (she is a track athlete).
As a former collegiate athlete, I frequently get asked questions like these. And, as that former college athlete who barely made it out of the sport before complete and utter disdain for it settled in, my answer to these inquiries is always the same.
And it comes in question form: “Are you having fun?”
When I meet young athletes who want nothing more than to make it to the next level, I see much of the same thing. Each is talented, each has determination and drive, each has that competitive spirit and a love for the sport he or she is involved in.
Unfortunately, in most cases, there is one key ingredient that is missing: fun.
When I posed this question to the young reader, I was met with this response: “I used to like running a lot, but now it's just all about winning, so it's hard to stay motivated.”
My heart sank and I was immediately taken back to that very same spot I was in 15 years ago when I was a junior in high school with those same goals. What was once a sport that began with me running alongside my dad in my Chuck Taylor knockoffs was now filled with stress and nerves. It was all about winning.
The fun was gone and running was now a job.
Having barely survived four years of college burnout, I have often looked back and wondered what I could have done differently so that I would have had a better experience. I have come up with five tips to help potential college athletes to enjoy their sport.
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