If you are a kid who plays sports, you almost certainly have pro or college players that you look up to and try to pattern your game after.
In everything we do it makes it a lot easier to achieve success when you have a clear blueprint to copy.
But have you ever thought about the fact that someday that player will retire, and someone your age is going to take their place at the top level of your sport?
And when that day comes, why can’t that be you?
Sportcenter highlights in another 10-15 years will be dominated by those who are playing at the youth level right now. The stars of today are going to be replaced by someone who currently isn’t well known, isn’t big enough or fast enough to be a star yet, and doesn’t have the skill level to compete at the top.
A decent number of today’s kids actually are going to get there, even though they’re in grade school right now.
So I’ll ask again – why not you?
People are going to tell you that the odds of becoming a pro athlete in any sport is less than a 1% chance, and they are right.
Likely for every 10,000 kids in your exact same situation, only one or two of you will survive the full journey. So it’s really a 0.01% chance.
But what few people will tell you is that most of those who don’t make it sink their own chances by making critical mistakes along the way. Things that are easily correctable and avoidable, mistakes you can avoid if it matters enough to you.
Success in all walks of life has a definite blueprint, and if you follow it you are much more likely to rise up over time to be one of the best at what you do.
Specifically, you need to focus on these 3 things.
It is funny how a lot of the time kids will truly believe they can reach a high level in their sport, but completely doubt their ability to overcome the smaller challenges that confront them that day.
The best lesson a young athlete can learn to build confidence is this – confront the smaller challenges head onconfidence today, and give it all you have to overcome it. Sometimes you’ll succeed, sometimes you won’t, but you’ll eventually become used to stepping outside of your comfort zone and doing the tougher tasks you must do to become great.
Because lesson #1 is that to achieve elite success you’re going to have to make a habit of stepping outside your comfort zone.
It certainly helps to have loving, supportive people around you to help you become more confident. But there is no way others can build confidence for you. You must do it yourself, and the only way it’s going to happen is for you to go out and do things that the little voice in the back of your head is saying you can’t do.
Crush that voice, conquer the fear of doing more than you think you can do, and your confidence will start to soar.
Fix Your Sports Skill Weaknesses
Of course, you can believe in yourself all you want but if you’re not good enough it won’t matter.
No athlete is perfect at every aspect of the game. In fact, if a younger athlete is brave enough to be honest with themselves they will probably admit they need work on almost everything to be elite.
So if it really matters to you, get out there and spend some focused time on your own addressing these skills.
With sports it is true most of the time that with focused repetition you’ll see improvement. Your nervous system has an incredible ability to literally wire patterns of proper movement in place so it is easier for your brain to recall the precise coordination needed to repeat it over and over with little effort.
But you don’t get that without a lot of practice. So lesson #2 is that sometimes you’re going to have to sacrifice doing other things that most kids do in order to eventually stand out from them.
At the end of the day it is entirely up to you to decide whether to spend two hours after school working out and practicing your skills, or to plop down and get on your cell phone as most other kids today would do.
But I guarantee the 0.01% that will make it won’t choose the phone in that scenario.
Develop Pro-Level Physical Skills
Confident, skilled players can be the best around at younger ages. But with each level higher in their sport, no matter which you play, the game gets faster and more physical.
Ignoring this truth and not planning long-term is a huge trap that we see with youth sports today. In an effort to win youth championships or be the best player on your current team, an inordinate amount of time is spent within the sport but precious little time is spent becoming stronger, faster, and more injury resistant.box-jump
Physical development work requires delayed gratification, because the changes you’re making are often times not going to make you an overnight success. It is a long, winding road that doesn’t always appear to be leading to the top.
Lesson #3 involves understanding that the biggest reason why a player won’t make the next level (varsity HS, then college, then pro) is because they aren’t physically prepared to play a faster and stronger type of game. And all of it is fixable if you work at it enough.
Make no mistake, the ones who get there put the time and effort in. They incrementally make gains while everyone else around them does not. The changes won’t be noticeable in a day or a week or usually even over a month, but eventually those who train for success stand out.
Do you think physcial skills don’t matter just because you’re good at your sport?
Watch how the NFL combine’s evaluation of pure athletic skill gives and takes away millions of dollars to prospects each year.
And it’s not just football that takes this approach. It’s simply the most visible example of how all pro, college and even prep school coaches pick their teams. No coach wants to helplessly sit and watch his or her group of confident, skilled players get run over and run around all season by a more physical opponent.
The odds of anyone playing youth sports today signing a pro contract is small, no doubt. But a huge percentage of those who fall by the wayside are victims of their own mistakes.
The precious few are out there overcoming challenges, training hard, and working on their games long after their coaches tell them practice is over.
On December 1, 2026 someone no one has ever heard will have the top play on Sportscenter. Will it be you?