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Yesterday I had a great conversation with an athlete I give private instruction to. He is a freshman in high school and I asked him how his grades are so far. He said pretty good but a couple classes where his grades are currently sitting at 79%. I asked him why he is at 79% in those classes? That 1% is the difference between a C and a B which is a big deal. Imagine if he put in an extra 10 minutes a night towards understanding the material in those classes. He’d have two B’s in addition to his other A’s and B’s.

Yes I know, it’s school. And in this day and age with so much technology and video games, it’s difficult at times to get student athletes to understand exactly how important having good grades are. For some student athletes, it’s too little too late unfortunately. For others, they are on top of their grades and handle their business from day one. The latter are more difficult to find. But I think if student athletes were involved in a conversation about the importance of school and what that means to potential college coaches, they may try a little bit harder.

The obvious reason grades are important is because it opens up so many more options in regards to colleges and universities. I’m sure almost every athlete has heard this; if you get good grades then you create more opportunities for yourself. And it is true. As a former college coach, the first question I would ask the high school coach was, “How are his grades?” If a player has good grades then it is easier to get him into the college you’re recruiting for. You don’t have to try and pull strings. The other thing is that if an athlete was getting good grades, then I most likely wouldn’t worry about his grades if he was a part of our baseball program. Now I know that was brief and true, but there is another reason why coaches are concerned with grades and it branches off of the last sentence I just stated.

As a coach, if you have a student athlete that has a 4.0GPA (I’m just using this GPA as an example but you should still try to shoot for it) it means two things: first, I don’t have to worry about him being eligible and second (and more importantly), it tells me what kind of person he is. Not only is he able to put in the time to get better at baseball, but he is better at managing his time to make room for what’s important. It shows me he has good discipline, a strong work ethic, and simultaneously working on his athletic ability and his future because he cares. Let’s be honest, the majority of college athletes will not play professional baseball. But at some point, all former athletes will have a job. The good grades an athlete earns in college is also taken into consideration by a future employer because it shows them the same things I mentioned earlier: discipline, work ethic, and that he cares.

If you’re not good at managing your time to take care of what’s important, you may have a difficult time in college. Sure, there are going to be athletes that are very talented with bad grades and you still recruit them in hopes they will make your program better. But players with good grades is the goal. Discipline, work ethic, time management, and caring about being great in every aspect of your life. Those things don’t come easy to most. But the athlete that puts the time in towards the classroom and the field, that is more impressive than most people truly understand.

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