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Athlete Blog

A big fish in an ocean

February 28, 2017

It’s awfully nice being the top dog, right?

You’re coming off a big senior year where you proved yourself to be the best athlete on the team, racking up all different kinds of awards and honors, and you’re slated to play at the college level. There’s a name for standout athletes like that…a big fish. So now you’re a big fish in a small pond, which means you’re the top in the area. College has a very funny way of reminding you that you’re still a big fish…but you’re now in the ocean. There are whales. Great whites. Octopuses. All kinds of big fish. How do you become an even bigger fish in the ocean? How do you dominate at the collegiate level?

How do you swim?

I’m going to use the aquatic world as an example for this topic. How do you swim? How do you carry yourself on a daily basis? I’m talking about body language. Have you seen how small fish swim? Scrawny, squiggly movements, distracted and not powerful. Now compare a goldfish with a great white shark. Great whites swim in a controlled sense, towards a goal, free of distraction, and they act big.

Okay, now let’s think about how a scrawny high school freshman would walk compared to how a senior would walk. The general stereotype is that the freshman walks around small, looking around frantically for the right classroom, and such. Compare that with a senior who knows what he/she’s doing. Shoulders back, long strides and knows where he/she is going.

That scrawny freshman was me in 2008. I remember seeing a senior who was the star of the football team, and I was enamored by how he carried himself, there was an aura about him, and he looked and talked to you with strong assurance. He was very confident in himself. So if you’re on campus as a freshman, look for the “great white sharks” on campus, and study their body language. Study how they look at people and talk to them. What makes them stand out? Mix and match that into your daily style.

How do you swim with adversity?

This is truly the difference maker between the big and small fish in college. How you continue to swim when you’re getting peppered with all kinds of adversity. Do you go for it, chomp down on the adversity and overcome it…or do you scramble? Think about a “school” of fish, many fish bunched together. When something comes at them, they all book it. Have you ever seen them fight back? Probably not. If a great white sees something come at it, it’s going to bite the snot out of it and destroy it. Then it resumes swimming. You have to do the same with adversity. You’ll have to grit your teeth and get after it, regardless what it is. It could be your algebra assignment, an early wake-up or a bad game. You don’t run away from any of these things. Keep on swimming.