September 22, 2010

One thing that all student-athletes have in common is the confidence they exude in their respective sport. They’re determined, they’re focused, and they want to win at all costs. By transferring some of these skills off the field, student-athletes can also experience great success in life. In fact, and as I write in my book Student Athlete 101, student-athletes have an advantage in life based on their experience.

Here are three simple things student-athletes can do to get ahead.


Opportunities won’t fall in your lap. You must pursue them. Just like you have a game plan on the field, you must have one in life as well.  This means having goals, planning ahead, being organized and knowing how to prioritize. And just like in a game, once you’ve devised your plan, you must attack aggressively and do all you can to score. This is where you execute and take steps that will get you closer to your goals. To use a soccer analogy – instead of trying to score from midfield, make strategic passes that set you up for that winning goal in the box. These small steps can lead to success.


It’s widely known that you become most like those with whom you associate, so it’s best to surround yourself with the right people who make you better. One thing successful people have in common is that they are focused, driven, and positive. Find these people and get to know them. They can be your teammates, classmates, coaches or new friends. As they say, if you’re the smartest person in your group, your group is too small. Your network is the foundation to your success, so don’t wait to start building it.


Student-athletes are leaders on and off the field and a respected member of their local communities. Set yourself apart from the crowd, and show them how student-athletes get it done. Contributing to causes beyond your required athletic obligations is a great thing worth pursing. You can accomplish this by volunteering with a local foundation, becoming a mentor, or just by lending a helping hand to someone in need. Make a positive contribution to your community. More often than not, you’ll get more out of the experience than you give.

Antonio Neves is an award-winning broadcast journalist and author of Student Athlete 101: College Life Made Easy On & Off The Field.