The Forging and Building of Your Shield!
(image above: we unveiled our company’s name, passion, and logo in last week’s post; if you missed it, here’s a [link] to understand our meaning behind it!).
Remember the two things our Spartan friends always took with them into battle? The sword and shield, that’s it. In our context, the sword symbolizes the student athlete’s physical ability and the shield symbolizes all of the rest of her abilities. When the overwhelming majority of today’s athletes (student athletes and professionals) go into competition (battle), they only go with their sword. But, both are needed to win.
Coaches help sharpen the sword by helping her achieve excellence on the field, but who helps her build her shield and achieve excellence off the field? Building excellence off the field so she can make an amazing impact around her, combined with an understanding of her performance on the field is what will help her stand out and set her apart from average players. It is what college coaches are impressed by. Why would you aim for anything less? Become a complete athlete.
Let’s get into some of the details about what college coaches “value” and how we help you build that “value” through the forging and building of your shield!
We’ve spoken to numerous coaches about what excites them, what concerns them, and ultimately what can set one student athlete apart from another.
The overwhelming majority of student athletes focus on performance on the field (for obvious and necessary reasons), but very few understand how to achieve excellence off the field.
There are thousands of books, articles, and blogs on this topic. Anyone can spend hours, days, weeks, and months doing the research (have fun!); many of the (common) qualities one might expect, but here are two very important questions you should ask if you are the parent of a student athlete:
1. What does it all mean in today’s context?
2. What is missing, where are the gaps, where is the hidden competitive advantage?
Let’s start with two great quotes coaches shared with us.
“Sports does not build character, it reveals it.”
“All the talent in the world won’t make up for a lack of character.”
What Does it All Mean in Today’s Context?
“Today’s context” includes the high volume of competition around us, the abundance of technology around us, and how well “connected” we are,…resulting in information overload.
In today’s high volume of competition, coaches tell us that while stats and academics are definitely important, they are only two pieces of the “athlete” puzzle. A big part of being a complete athlete is the mental game, on and off the field. How does she “see” the field, how does she make decisions, is she putting effort to continuously improve herself, and how does she help teammates and her team win? Coaches next take all of this and try to understand how it describes her behavior off the field — a very difficult task that takes experience-based judgement and gut-based assumptions (risk).
With the abundance of technology and access to more information than we’ve ever had in history, trying to understanding the “athlete’s” path or journey from middle school to college sports is no longer simple. The process…
…is freakin confusing,
…can involve politics (and drama),
…has not substantially changed in decades (irrelevant, outdated), and
…does not help nor encourage the student to reach full athlete potential.
What is Missing, Where are the Gaps, Where is the Hidden Competitive Advantage?
We took a big step back to look at the full picture of the student athlete journey (we also call this the athlete life cycle), looked hard to uncover major gaps, looked hard to discover ways to do it better (much better), and then looked at this problem from the lens of leveraging military strategy and NASA engineering.
The simple way to look at this is that having a smart strategy helps connect dots that no one is connecting and using engineering helps keep all the dots lined up in the right direction towards the dream.
What’s missing today is a way to bring all of this together in an easy, meaningful, and fun way.
The gaps are large because the (recruiting) process hasn’t substantially changed in decades. The hidden competitive advantage is knowing what all the dots are, knowing how to connect them, and knowing how to keep them pointed in the direction to achieve the dream of playing in college. This is Athlete Foundry.
You are probably asking, what the heck are these dots? The dots represent all the things that go into building her shield,…helping her become a complete athlete and reach full athlete potential.
Building the Shield.
Every parent wants to do everything possible to give their student athlete the competitive advantage and see their child succeed, in sports and in life.
As a parent myself, I deeply understand this and I am “all in” when it comes to creating opportunities and options for my daughters; this feeds my inspiration behind building Athlete Foundry for all student athletes.
This starts with the parent having an open mind and to believe in one important principle — never sell your child short, regardless of her current capability.
Just because your child doesn’t play at a level you think she needs to today, she is still growing and developing. If you don’t take time now to (smartly) plan the road ahead, you are simply selling your child short. Why? Because when she is ready to crush it, you have effectively eliminated her options.
From an earlier post, I wrote that there are two major components to this: (1) how does she increase her overall odds of success in sports and (2) how does she build excellence off the field so that when combined with her performance on the field, she is unstoppable?
We will help you answer the above two questions. On the field, we will track her performance and help her understand what it means in terms of her competition now and in terms of those a few years ahead of her. This helps her understand how she is doing now and most importantly, a peek into the future to understand how she’ll need to perform as she progresses through high school.
Off the field, we’ll help build the rest of her so she can make an amazing impact around her and truly set herself apart. Excellence off the field involves possessing certain knowledge and demonstrating certain behavior — the dots! Some of these dots involve academics, leadership, character, confidence, helping teammates, building a network, exposure, financial aid options, and discovering non-sports passions.
Deciding to tackle the above will set her on a path to build her shield, is what will set her apart, it’s the stuff superheroes are made of.
So, what’s your profession?
CEO & Founder
Athlete Foundry, LLC
(KC’s LinkedIn Profile)
Any of this excite or fire you up? We will soon be looking for individuals who are entrepreneurially-minded, humble, ridiculously driven, and like to have fun to join our team! Superhero makers with social media, marketing, design, sales, game design, and data science superpowers that want to join our mission, send me a short email at email@example.com.
We have recently selected our initial cohort of passionate parents of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade student athletes to build their roadmap to college sports and beyond — for free. If you are interested (or know someone who could benefit) to be considered for a possible second cohort, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will add you (them) to our waiting list.
Next update will be in 2 weeks. We will show our concept of the roadmap, explain some of the key elements, and give everyone a chance to download the basic fundamentals, for free. We are confident it will help each and every parent, which is why we want to just give it to you.