Coach Grier is the director of Midwest Operations for Elite Sports Agency. His website is packed with information valuable to ANY athlete. The name is fitting as well. www.get2theleague.com —-because let’s face it, it’s easier to stay there, once you get there.
- Thanks so much for taking the time to share your expertise…Can we begin by having you tell us your story, not found in your bio?
some experience on the business side of the sport, I realized that there were a lot of “little” things I could’ve known earlier that might’ve improve my chances.
It’s too late for me now, so I now use that information to help educate football players, regardless of whether they’re high school, college, or maybe even pros already.
My passion is to leverage the game of football to reach young men, and give them information that will help them both on the field as well as when their playing days are done.
- So what are the most important mental skills for an athlete to “get to the league?”
Hell if I know, I should be asking YOU that question (laughs).
No seriously, I think the main thing to understand is that you have to give it your all, with the information you currently have. That way, you don’t have to live with regrets.
Aside from that, I think it’s vital for guys to not define themselves as football players, because when your playing days are over (regardless of whether you “make it pro” or not), it will make the transition to life after football that much tougher.
From friends that have made it, I think you have to constantly be looking for ways to get better as a player.
It’s also has to be a passion; football, that is. You have to really love the game. Playing pro isn’t all glitz and glamour. If you’re not passionate about the game, don’t pursue playing pro, because if you don’t have the passion, you’ll be exposed.
- The Marques Clark story is an awesome one! How much of success for professional athletes is surrounding themselves with opportunities and successful people?
Shoot, man, with your success, you already know that success in life is all about relationships. The extent that they can help a guy as far as his abilities to reach the NFL is debatable, and usually minimal, but you never know which relationship can help you; whether it’s someone that knows a key NFL employee first-hand, or whether it’s someone that can teach you a new technique or philosophy that can make you a better player.
I would say that “who you know” doesn’t help you as much with a prospective pro football career as it might for, say, someone looking to get their feet wet in the HR industry, but you can never have too many contacts and positive relationships
- With that, is there an amount of “luck” and being a “fit” for an athlete and team?
Heck yeah. Luck plays a major factor in it. A good family friend of mine plays in the NFL right now, and if it wasn’t for thisguy getting injured, or that guy guy having a bad game or two, my friend probably wouldn’t even be in the NFL anymore. He bounced around from team to team as an undrafted free agent, and now he plays on a regular basis, partially due to the misfortunes of the guys that were ahead of him on the roster.
And being a fit for a team’s scheme is critical. And luck plays into that a little bit as well. A common example is the defensive tackle position, but it applies to all positions to some degree. A bigger 3-4 defensive tackle, wouldn’t be a good fit for a team that has a 4-3 front, for example.
So if you happen to be a 3-4 type guy, and no teams happen to be looking for a 3-4 tackle, that alone could potentially keep you from getting a look. There’s so many different scenarios that lead to guys getting a shot, that sometimes I can’t attribute it to anything but luck.
- Since the average tenure of an athlete in the league is short, what are a few strategies that you help your clients adjust to life after football?
I’m a big proponent of guys identifying their passions as early as they can in life. That’s as in their passions outside of the game of football.
That way, once you’ve identified what you’re passionate about, you can use the spotlight and platform you’re given from being a pro (or college) player to network with people that can help you with your career once your football days are done.
Another thing to remember is to learn how to build your brand. Your “brand” is pretty much what people think about you when someone mentions your name.
You don’t have to make it pro, or be a superstar in the NFL to build a brand. Your brand is more or less your reputation. Your reputation will follow you long after your playing days are done, and can affect (either positively or negatively) the post-football opportunities you have when you’re done playing.
I also encourage guys to seek counseling, even while you’re playing. I played at a very small school, but I didn’t even make it pro, and it was still a hard adjustment for me to get used to life as just an “Average Joe.” I can’t imagine what it’s like, well actually I know what it’s like, but it’s even tougher for guys that play at big schools, or play pro.
It’s not something most people can relate to, so I think it’s extremely beneficial to find a therapist or counselor that can help you mitigate the emotions, situations, and thoughts you will experience as an athlete who’s been put on a pedestal.