It seems like ages ago I was in middle school and eventually living the high school life! I was truly blessed to grow up in Madison, Alabama and attend Liberty/Discovery Middle Schools and one of the best high schools in the country, Bob Jones! The past 3 months of VigliancoHoops training has brought me great joy in establishing great relationships, helping kids get better on the basketball court and also re awaken my years as a youth. I have discussed in previous posts about being different and making your own path in life. As we reach the 2013-2014 school year, I hope kids realize what it truly means to be a student athlete.

Luckily, the majority of my best friends in high school were all hard working, smart kids. I surrounded myself with quality people, which helped shape me into the person I am today. I have told most of my clients of the past few months how important it is to be smart on and off the basketball court. Challenge yourself to be different than the majority. Don’t ever be afraid of being smart and a bookworm. I was a dork in high school. I like to think I was a cool/popular dork, but at the end of the day I was in the toughest classes and was always competing to be in the top 5% of my high school class. It’s one of the hardest things for young kids to understand, but being a quality student first is the most important thing. Be nice to your teachers and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Do your homework and turn assignments in on time to show your teacher that you care. Don’t ever make excuses for making an A on a test or big project. If your peers ever give you grief for solid grades, they are 100% jealous of you! Last but not least, work hard in the classroom and it will translate over to the basketball court!

With the start of a new school year you have to find a balance between studies and athletics. If you truly want to become a college level player you need to time manage! This is very hard for most teens to do because it takes discipline and commitment. Prioritize what is important in your life during the school year. If the four things that are most important are family, school, basketball and friends, than you must prepare accordingly. August- November is one of the most important times during a teen’s basketball career. Most kids are playing football, volleyball, soccer or fall baseball. The fall is an important time to get in the gym and work on your game while everyone else is out playing other sports. Play in pickup games whenever you can find them. Find open gyms where you can go work on your game by yourself or with a friend. There are no excuses for you not being in great shape going in to the 2013 basketball season ahead of all the rest.

Be different! Challenge yourself this 2013-2014 school year in the classroom and on the basketball court! Don’t make excuses and don’t be afraid to be a great student athlete!