Getting to the Next LevelMost young athletes fail to realize that as they dream about becoming pros, tens of thousands of young people in America have the same goal. That is just a fact; I don’t say it to dissuade anyone from pursuing his or her dream. If you dream of becoming a professional athlete, I want you to realize that as you move to the next level, from middle school, to high school, to the college/university level, and then finally on to the pros, your work becomes more challenging and your competition greater. You’ll have to be able to respond to the challenges and improve your game along the way. I often see young athletes who, because they dominate at one level, then automatically assume they will dominate at the next without making any improvements. Seek out the best competition so you can prove yourself at every level. There will always be someone better than you, and if there’s not at the moment, there soon will be, so improving your skills and game is an ongoing process. As you move up the ranks, you’ll see the natural ascension that takes place. Good athletes, and those with raw physical skills, can simply get by in middle school and high school. You first really notice the separation when it’s time for an athlete to try to move on from high school to college. The competition really sets in when the recruiting wars begin for those college scholarships. Professional recruiters naturally look at athletes from the major colleges and universities, but that’s not always the case. Athletes at smaller schools get noticed too. Dozens of athletes come from smaller colleges who get a chance to move to the pros because they possess that “something special” and the recruiters notice it. So no matter what your level, Stand Above the Crowd and take advantage of every opportunity you’re given to highlight your skills because you never know who might be watching and evaluating you. Another thing that separates those who do move on to the pros from those who don’t is who wants it most. Unless you’re a first- or second-round draft pick, you will have to work your tail off to prove your worth. There will be times when you will be tested and there will be times when you’ll feel like you’re not being treated fairly, but you have to rise above that. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I saw guys arrive at training camp thinking they could ride in on their high school and college accomplishments. You can pick them out of the crowd easily; they’re the ones who have that “cool” strut. When you get these guys in a conversation, nine times out of ten, they talk about their glory days instead of the job at hand. James Donaldson’s – Standing Above the Crowd book is now available in ebook format! You’ll find it on Amazon (just type my name into the search bar) Of course, to order your own personally autographed copy for only $19.95, please go to www.StandingAboveTheCrowd.com and James Donaldson will personally autograph your book to you.