Making it in professional sports

As a freshman football coach at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, I was invited to attend the Green Bay Packers training camp, while Bart Starr was the head coach. The afternoon sun was hot and the humidity was high, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. You could hardly breath, it was so humid. I can remember several college practices that were like that. You couldn’t drink enough water to keep hydrated. You counted the seconds till practice was over. You wanted to be in the showers while cool water refreshed and cooled you off.

The practice started with the air horn, the players ran to their respective stations, coaches whistles blew and the drills began. The helmets and shoulder pads could be heard hitting each other during each drill. The grunts, groans, heavy breathing could be heard as the players beat up on the blocking dummies. The guys were cheering each other on as they went through the drills. The discipline professional athletes have is amazing. While waiting their turn for the next drill, many were working on their flexibility and observing each players techniques. Professional sports is all business, not only for the athlete, but the coaching staff and owners.

My first professional football tryout was for the World Football league, the Chicago Fire Football Club. After receiving the invitation in the mail, I was pretty excited at the time I got my invite I was a 21 year old kid. I remember showing up and there was well over a 100 guys starry eyed that were pretty excited. I looked around at those who were attending and saw all kinds of age groups. Some of the guys who attended were much older then I was and several out of shape. I suppose many of the guys who were given a shot at making the team was because they knew someone on the coaching staff or read it in the newspaper.

I was a 5’11” 245 pound running back, having no clue what would be asked of me. Our names were called off by the position we were asked to try out for. There were 25 of us hopeful running backs, split into groups of 5, and then we filled out more paper work. There were the typical questions of how long have you played for, which teams, your accomplishments, coaches references, etc. I handed in my forms, took a number and pinned it to my chest #3.

I was in the first group, we had to be timed in the 40 yard dash. I had a good time of 4.42. We were tested in our jumping ability in the standing long jump, I jumped over 7 feet. I was feeling pretty good by this time. Then we walked over to the bench press area about 35 yards away from the standing long jump area. There on the bench was 225 pounds, I knew that this would be one of my strongest events. A few guys went ahead of me, the best from those guys was 21 reps. It was my turn and I benched 42 reps. The coach that lead our group was pretty impressed, and started asking lots of questions as we jogged to the next station. I set the record for the entire tryout. He asked how I trained, how many hours I was in the gym.

Then came the flexibility tests, touch your toes, sit and reach, I did fine with those. This was an area that not to many athletes worked on, it was just starting to be a science for trainers. I did very little flexibility in high school and college, but did well enough to pass this part of the tryout. The next test was foot and hand speed. I have never in my life even seen such tests, I can tell you that, I am no dancer for sure. I failed horribly on my footwork. So, did most of the other guys who tested. I wasn’t alone. You could hear some of the guys complaining about this test.

We then ran through the cone zones. I did great in that drill, so did most of those in my group. The entire tryout camp was given a break as the coaches met in the middle of the indoor practice field. I could see them looking at their clip boards and talking. I was wondering which athletes they were going to cut while some other coaches were fighting to keep some of the athletes in the tryouts. Most ball players wonder how they were going to get cut! I’m sure we were all thinking about that, I know I was!

I was wondering about what other skill tests they had in store for us. I didn’t have to wait long. The next testing came in running through cones with the ball, catching balls in the flats. They also tested the running backs on running pass patterns. Then we were done! We were all called together, and the head coach told us that they would call us if we made the cut. He thanked us all. We were dismissed and walked out to the parking lot.

That’s when I started hearing the complaining begin from a group of guys walking to their cars, “I could have done better”, “that coach didn’t like me”, “that was dumb testing”, “I didn’t give it my best”, “I’m trying out for a better team”. I heard all kinds of excuses. Me, I was grateful for even getting a chance to get invited to a pro tryout. There are many gifted athletes who never get a chance to make the pro’s, but never do because of, BA’s..bad attitudes. They feel that the world owes them something. What gets you into the pro’s is hard work, determination, good work ethics, and making your own breaks. Talk to the right people, coaches, agents, present and former players. Knowledge is key to being successful in any pro sport.

The men and women we call, “Know it all’s”, forget about them, keep away from them, don’t hang around these kind of people, they will tear you down and hurt any chances of making any pro team. The advice they may give you, is not in your best interest. The problem with these people, is that they will live through your athletic abilities and your life. Get advice through experienced people who know what it takes to get in the pros. Seek wise counsel.

Do you want to get into the pros and need help? Are you thinking of trying out for a professional sport and you want some advice? Do you need someone who can help you decide if you have the right stuff to make a pro team? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you should call and set up an appointment with Dr. Mike. He can help you on the pathway to your professional sports career.

In addition, online/phone Master Life Coaching is affordable, accessible, anonymous, and available by appointment, from the privacy of your own home. Avoid the travel and time it takes to get my office. Since you never have to leave the comfort of your own home to meet with me, your anonymity and privacy is completely secured and protected. I have many out of state clients who prefer this means of coaching, this is the most effective means for Life Coaching for those of you who live out of the Denver-metro area or are out of the state of Colorado.