I am sure that you are filled with excitement and anticipation about the upcoming year. You are about to begin the next chapter of your life, which is undoubtedly both thrilling yet terrifying at the same time. There is not too much I can say to ease these feelings of anxiety because when you report for the first day of preseason, you will definitely be scared out of your mind. You will be leaving your family and old friends and coming to a place completely foreign to you. Just know that you will be welcomed with open arms into a truly wonderful group.

The best thing for you to do in order to make your transition as easy as possible is to come in prepared. As a freshman, I arrived at school not really knowing what to expect. I was thousands of miles away from home. I did not know a single soul, and I had no real idea what athletics at the college level was all about. However, the one thing I did know was that I needed to be fit. I can not stress enough how important it is to show up for preseason in shape, both for yourself and the team. When the entire team sits in the locker room dead silent before the fitness test, nervous in anticipation and dreading the fate that lies before us, I guarantee you will feel a lot better knowing that you trained hard and are prepared. Everyone is counting on you to come in to preseason in a condition that will be most beneficial to the team. Plus, I would hate to be in fit camp in addition to two-a-day sessions.

Mental preparation is just as important as the physical. Be excited! Playing and being a part of this team is my favorite part of school. Be ready to go out there and prove to us all what you can do. I’m sure you are extremely passionate about the game, otherwise you would not have committed yourselves to play at the Division I level. Do not let your nerves spoil your love for the game. Embrace the great opportunity that lies before you because before you know it you will be looking back and sadly reflecting about how such great times flew by so fast.

One of your main concerns right now might be the recent change in coaching staff. I too was in this exact position as an incoming freshman, so I understand how you feel. When it comes down to it, a coach can only do so much. The rest is left up to us. As a freshman, the fact that everyone is starting on a clean slate is actually a good thing because everyone is back in your shoes and on a level playing field. You have an equal opportunity to prove yourself to the coach and to the team. With all of that being said, you should know that the team views this as a great opportunity for the program to take a step forward to the next level.

Lastly, I just wanted to let you know how excited I and everyone else is for you to become part of our team. We are an extremely tight knit group, and we can not wait to get to know the next members of our family. Although going to college can be a saddening time (especially for your parents) in terms of leaving home, know that we will do our best to make you feel as comfortable as possible. I have never met a group of people as kind, caring, and compassionate as the players on this team.

Best Wishes,

Your teammate

Throughout my career motivated individuals have surrounded me. This inspiration at times was tough to feel during the daily grind, and other times the real life energy was obvious. When our paths cross, I am proud to see that the athletes come up to me for a handshake or high five and the stories they remind me about put an instant smile on my face.

This new segment will showcase the letters that many have written, myself or the athletes and coaches that I have worked with; to share their inspiration with those we call “teammates.” As you read through the messages that are shared, please remember that what is inside you can separate you from the rest. Look around and you may be surprised how many others are in need of just a little enthusiasm to push them closer to their goals: professionally, physically, mentally, etc.

I will begin with a letter that I sent to a team that I am still very proud of to this day. No names needed. Just a sincere message that I hope can impact others to pay it forward by giving energy to those around them.

Please leave your feedback in the comments section at the bottom. How are you preparing your team, coaches, administrators, staff, co-workers, sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers to have a positive mindset in both good and challenging times?