If you don’t like playing sports or don’t feel exceptionally good at them, then mandatory participation - true at many high schools - can be your worst nightmare.
That’s especially true if your school doesn’t offer an easy out like walking (yes, my high school had this as a “sports” option). The fear of stepping up to bat or putting on a lacrosse mask might every day be your idea of the worst ever.
Even if you’re not looking forward to the season, here are a few tips to help you do an OK job and maybe even grow to enjoy it.
1. Practice fundamentals for 15 minutes after practice everyday
When practice is over, the last thing you want to do is stay later. I get that. I played lacrosse in high school and after a day of sprints I wanted to lie down, not practice my shooting.
If you’re not the smoothest player on the field, however, this little bit extra could make all the difference. When I joined the lacrosse team freshman year, there was another kid in my class who was much worse than I was at just about everything; shooting, passing, everything!
He got serious our sophomore year, and began spending that extra 15 after every practice going over the basic lacrosse drills. Everyone, especially our coach, was blown away when he came back as a strong player in junior year.
2. Get a baseline level of fitness.
You may have absolutely no plans to stay fit outside of what is required during practice. This is probably hurting you quite a bit and ruining your sports experience.
If you’re winded after one sprint down the field, all the skills in the world won’t make you look any better in front of the fans. Yes, Saturdays are meant for relaxing, but put on your basketball shoes or cleats and do a few wind sprints on your own time.
If you push yourself like this outside of practice, even just once or twice a week, you’ll be surprised to find that you can now “glide” through drills at practice that used to leave you breathless!
3. Ask your coach for tips on how to improve.
One note here: Don’t go to your coach with a whiny “I don’t think I’m any good” attitude. It will look like you’re trying to get out of the responsibility you have to your team.
Ask coach for any areas where you could use a little work, and then implement these tips into your extra 15 minutes of training after each practice. When it’s clear that you’re taking the advice and working hard to improve, a good coach will go out of his or her way to make sure you get extra help, even if you aren’t the star player on the team.
[Not interested in sports? Here's 5 things you can do after school if you aren't an athlete.]