The Destruction of the High School Student Athlete

For a great deal of high school student athletes in this country, sports means everything to them.  Athletics is a means of freedom for many young people and without it; there may not be hope for the future and some of them will struggle throughout their lives.

In my lifetime, I have come across many high school and college athletes who did not get the maximum potential out of their athletic careers.  Without achieving a certain level of greatness, many of these athletes experience a lifetime of disappointment and frustration.

Throughout the history of sports, many athletic careers have been destroyed, not by what you may think is the obvious reason, a career ending injury or a crime that sent them to jail or prison. No, and athletic career can be destroyed by a jealous or despicable high school coach who feel that it’s necessary to sabotage the student athlete’s dream of athletic success.

It does happen all the time; the athletic success derailed by a high school coach, school administrator or some unknown individual out for revenge or just plain jealousy.

 

There are millions of stories of high school student athletes who were extremely talented, but who received absolutely no help or guidance from their high school coach.  Those student athletes’ careers ended at the high school level all because of a mean and evil high school coach.

This kind of thing also happens in college, where you’ll have some jackass college coach who will do whatever it takes to ruin that athlete’s career.

I’ve seen it happen; a college coach will sit a player on the bench never to play that player.  I’ve seen it with my own eyes while in college, where players are frustrated with the system or the coach and they just quit.  Being a student athlete in college and you quit playing your sport that you’ve worked your entire life to be apart of is extremely devastating to that athlete.

The fact that you were forced to quit is sometimes a life changing decision because as athletes, we are trained to never quit-to never give up.  Athletes are conditioned to give everything they’ve got to their sport no matter what.

For an athlete to make the decision to quit in college is a horrible decision to make and no athlete should ever be placed in that situation, but it does happen and surprisingly it does not matter how big or small the college or university.

Sometimes there really is no life after sports for most of these young athletes. The reason I say that is because so many athletes put everything they’ve got into being the best they can be athletically.  When you work to develop your athletic skills from a very early age all away through high school and into college sports, it’s very hard to quit.

The devastating part about athletics is how ugly it could be.  For all the joy athletics can bring there is often a side that we don’t hear about; how careers end, how players end up lost without athletics in their lives.

I’ve known many athletes who were very talented, who were the absolute best at basketball, a star in football and baseball but they seemed to be fish out of water when they could no longer play their sport.  I believe the reason is because of the passion athletes have developed over a long period time towards their sport.

After a period of athletic development, the passion for sports turns into love and sometimes love is hard to give up.

The destruction of the high school student athlete starts in high school, that’s when everything counts towards college.  When you enter your freshman year of high school your academics count towards college and everything you do is recorded on your transcript which is a permanent record.

If you do poorly academically or are persuaded to take classes that are not going to help you get into college then this could have a harmful affect on student athletes’ academic futures.

A sport, to an athlete, is like oxygen to the rest of the world; without it you will not live very long.  I think sports have that kind of affect on athletes. Sometimes if you’re doing well athletically, it’s like you have more oxygen, you feel unstoppable without it, you go through life in slow motion always searching for that burst of oxygen.

Final thoughts: When athletes train themselves for a long period of time to become athletes, it’s almost hard to think about doing anything else in their life.  Hearing the cheering of a large crowd at a basketball game is an incredible sound and feeling.  You know they’re cheering for you because of a great play you made or something outstanding you did.  Nowhere else in life are you going to run across that experience! Only athletics can do that for you.

I think that’s why you see so many former athletes who are coaches or who are involved in some type sport; it is just so they can stay close to the game.

I am the editor of The Woods Recruiting Blog. I write about the college recruiting process where I educate parents and student athletes on the strategies of going from high school athlete to college athlete.

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