I hope you are finishing up your senior year with a great deal of success. This is an awesome time in your life. I encourage you to fully enjoy it. But I also want you to realize that you are now part of something more than your high school glory days.

As a program, we have come a long way from when I first joined the team. Much of our success begins with our approach to the summer workouts and fall practices. Practices will be more competitive than anything you have been a part of, and it will be overwhelming at first. This is why it is necessary to come to campus in the best shape that you possibly can. Any struggles you might have can be made up for through hustle and hard work. The learning and adaptation will come with time and upperclassmen leadership.

Next year, we will be defending our conference title, which has allowed us to go back to the tournament for a second straight year. We will now be the hunted in our league, with many of our rivals looking for payback. This is why we need you to begin to prepare at a very high level right now.

I return next year as a fifth year senior who has seen a lot, but I can tell you right now that you are off to a better start. I tried out to make the team in my freshman year, having no idea of my standing or what it would be like. It took some struggle, but here I am returning for an extra year, and I couldn’t feel more blessed. I tell you this to show you that anything can happen with hard work.

When you come to school as a recruited freshman, there is even more expected of you. You are not as good as you might think you are, but you are never as bad as you will think of yourself at times. What you must focus on is bringing an attitude to practice every single day that will allow you to take a step forward to help not only yourself, but our team. We need every single member to push each other each and every day!

Get yourself ready for a grind, but realize this can be one of the most meaningful experiences of your life. These will be some of your best friends for the rest of your life. We are team of united brothers that you will look forward to going to battle with.

We lose a senior class that has brought our program back to the playoffs two years in a row. Together, it will be on all of us to keep that going. We lose some very valuable players, and some incredible leaders who have guided us back to the field of 16. Next year, expectations will be even higher. We return enough to repeat, and make a run deep into the tournament, but we cannot do it without being in great shape and coming back ready to compete in the fall.

Have a great summer.

Your teammate

Throughout my career motivated individuals have surrounded me. This inspiration at times was tough to feel during the daily grind, and other times the real life energy was obvious. When our paths cross, I am proud to see that the athletes come up to me for a handshake or high five and the stories they remind me about put an instant smile on my face.

This new segment will showcase the letters that many have written, myself or the athletes and coaches that I have worked with; to share their inspiration with those we call “teammates.” As you read through the messages that are shared, please remember that what is inside you can separate you from the rest. Look around and you may be surprised how many others are in need of just a little enthusiasm to push them closer to their goals: professionally, physically, mentally, etc.

I will begin with a letter that I sent to a team that I am still very proud of to this day. No names needed. Just a sincere message that I hope can impact others to pay it forward by giving energy to those around them.

Please leave your feedback in the comments section at the bottom. How are you preparing your team, coaches, administrators, staff, co-workers, sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers to have a positive mindset in both good and challenging times?