Often players only get one or two times to play in front of coaches which means it’s go-time. One of the quotes that was drilled into my brain after my freshman year of high school was something I will be using for the rest of my life. The magic words were heard at a high school fundraiser dinner by Brian Cashman, the General Manager for the New York Yankees. As an all-boys high school, he was making the connection between performance both in the classroom and sports and the work life.
“Always put in your best efforts, you never know who is watching.” – Brian Cashman
From that night, my father drilled that statement into my brain like it was the code for human survival. It did not really click until the summer before my senior year of high school. I had played numerous tournaments in the New England region in front of parents and independent coaches who had ties to numerous college teams without any idea of knowing.
At the beginning of the summer, I played in a college showcase in which numerous coaches came to watch juniors of the country compete, but this was on a smaller scale. As I had easier matchups, coaches were less interested at the time. The big tournaments of the summer were coming up and I would get a chance to showcase my talent on the big stage.
Again, my father before each match, even if not physically present, would say or text the words, “you never know who is watching”. The national clay court championships was here with Junior Davis Cup following and I was ready to go. Coaches from all over the country were there and my first match at Clays put me on a center court against a player who was ranked top 75 in the country (I was around 250). I received a beating in the first set in about 30 minutes. Coaches walked away, parents walked away. Nerves were there but I had to remind myself, my future is on the line and it wasn’t over. I came out in the second set struggling but managed to come back and win the second set. As coaches passed and saw that I was still there, they began to fill in some of the seats. I ended up losing in the third set but after the match, I had coaches writing my name on the clip boards.
After speaking with coaches that were there (My father acting as my coaching scout), all asked for the results. I told them the score and although I lost, all the coaches reiterated that they loved the fight I displayed and that I had potential. Coaches with top 50 programs had my name to watch in my next match based on what other coaches had mentioned to them.
As much as players think coaches do not collaborate on the side about recruits, that rumor is false. Therefore, You never know who is watching is the perfect mantra for any high school prospect. If you are losing, go down with a fight, if you are winning, go for gold but in a professional manner.
So whether it is the one match against a superior foe or inferior foe, remember, it’s not only about the win or loss, it’s also about the attitude displayed.
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Posted on July 9, 2015 in Half Time Talk
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