Are you Ready?

Are You Ready?Casey texted me.  Coach, I move into college in two weeks already and am super nervous and stressed out about basketball.  I keep thinking that I’m not gonna be good enough and that the other girls are going to be way better than me.  If you have any advice I’d appreciate it!

Ha! I said. My biggest advice is to get into the gym!  You feel that way because you know you haven’t spent enough time training. Repetition will give you the confidence.  I’ll set you up with a two week training program to get you ready.

And over the course of the next half hour, we worked through the details, and got Casey on the schedule.

But what Casey didn’t realize was the first training wasn’t just another day in the gym.  It was her assessment.  It was a test to see was she ready.  Was she mentally, physically, and spiritually prepped to walk into her Division 2 basketball college, claim her scholarship, carve out her future, and make the most of it?  Was she prepared?

No. She wasn’t.

It was Casey’s first time with Coach BJ Buss.  He knew what he had to do. Round after round, he pushed her.  With each dribble and drive, the pound of the ball echoed through Casey’s ears and chest.  BJ didn’t let up.  One hour.  One day.  One goal.  Where will she fall amongst these new college freshman superstars?

As each bead of sweat pulsed past Casey’s temple and mixed with a tear of uncertainty, she ran to the trash can, slumped over, and choked out heaves of dry air.  Casey completed her workout, and wrapped up her work for the day.

As Coach BJ and I waited, two days later, we received the text from Casey.  I’m still not feeling well.  Casey, I torted.  Don’t you dare.  Drink a bunch of water, and get in here!  Trust us!

This was it.  I knew this morning, if she just walked into our doors, and put the first day behind her, she was ready.  But my heart broke as each unrelenting text came through.

I think I’m getting sick because I feel really dizzy lately.  I have to figure out how to not let my cycle influence my sports!  It just drains me and makes me feel exhausted.

I may have strep throat Casey said, I don’t think it’s a good idea.  I jerked back, us coaches are immune to strep.

My mother said I’m not doing anything today if I’m sick.  I would love to but don’t think it would go the way I want.

Our session is different today Casey, but if you must…I finished.

I don’t even have a car, Casey responded.  It’s been getting fixed this past week.

And with that, we rescheduled.

Here is the simple truth.  When you walk into those college dorms, and onto that beautifully painted hard wood floor, and the coaches jobs are on the line, they don’t want to hear excuses.  If you don’t feel good, take some ibuprofen.  If you are behind in class, spend an extra hour studying.  If you are uncertain if you will look good on the court, get over it, it’s not about you.  If you don’t have a car, walk.  God gave you two wheels, use them.

There will be plenty of reasons you won’t want to get up the next day and practice.  When you get to college, you will be pushed beyond what you think you are capable.  You will puke.  You will be sore, tired, and achy.  You will doubt yourself.  You will cry.  You will call home.  And you might just want to quit.  But the fact is, mom can’t save you this time.  And excuses are for the weak at heart.

Three days later, Casey texted me.  Coach, I went to the gym, and pushed myself past my limit.  I focused really hard, and grinded it out.  I killed it! I feel really good about myself now, and then my second workout with BJ was the best session ever!

Casey figured it out.  I knew she would.  Because that’s the strong, stubborn, fearless beast she has always proven to be.  She is a born fighter.  She finished her text and said, Now instead of me not being ready for college, college ins’t gonna be ready for me!

That’s my girl.

The fact is when you think you are not ready, you are stronger than you realize.  You are not weak.

The battle is more than just on the court and in how you feel.  The battle is in your mind.  You have been given an engine that is capable of doing more than you could ever imagine.  But the first step is to fight the temptation to back down.  The first step is to stop making excuses.  The first step in being successful and confident, is to say no to your fears, lace up your shoes, step onto the court on Day 2 and say “Coach, I’m Ready,” even if you don’t feel like it, even if you are uncertain of what the next practice session will bring, and even if you think you will puke again. When you do this just once, that’s when you step past all your fears and excuses, and know, You are Ready.

If you’re not sure whether you or your athlete is ready, give us call, and we will make sure you are.

Lisa Van Wyk