I’m pretty sure you’ve seen the packet already, and probably stared at it for four hours thinking “what have I gotten myself into”… but don’t worry, its normal! Even us upperclassmen will be asking ourselves the same question, and we’ve seen this packet every summer for three or four years. But, when you really think about it, this is what you’ve been waiting for your whole life, the chance to play Division I athletics with a great group of coaches and teammates. The summer packet is just the beginning to a challenging, but extremely rewarding road ahead.

No one can mentally prepare you for the fitness packet in the summer or the tests on the first day of preseason…only you can do that, but if you follow the packet one day at a time, you’ll be fine. As bad as it seems the first day you look at it, you’ll come to realize that it’s really not so terrible…it’s actually kind of rewarding. Everyday I go out there and complete a workout I felt great about myself and my position on the team. I know that running is not only going to make me stronger, but it will make every single one of my teammates stronger as well…and that’s what gets me through it. When you come to college playing a sport, you enter into a new family. Your teammates will help you get through your first couple of months in a new and weird environment. We’ve all been through the same things, so we know a thing or two about helping each other out with difficult situations. So preparing yourselves in the summer is the least you can do to thank your teammates. Freshman or not, we all have to come in prepared.

Now of course there are going to be those days when the last thing you feel like doing is running sprints on the hottest day of the year, and you know what, I don’t blame you. The best way to prepare yourself for the fall is to come in fit, no matter how you do it. So, on those days when the field looks 1,000 yards long, feel free to switch it up a little bit, grab your friends and play some pickup. The one thing I wish I had as a freshman was a sense of direction. I had no idea what the “YBMI” stood for (You Better Make It), and the soccer metabolic workouts looked like a foreign language to me. So please, don’t hesitate to ask questions if you have any (or just want to talk)…the coaches might be the ones who make us do it, but we’ll give you the inside scoop on how bad everything actually is.

Don’t sweat it! These last few months of your high-school years are some of the most rewarding times of your life, so spend them with friends and family, but don’t forget about your new family. If you work hard over the summer running and playing you’ll no doubt gain the respect and love of your new teammates…and trust me if you come in beating one of us on the fitness tests we might not like you (just kidding), but we’ll sure respect you!

Can’t wait to see you soon,

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?