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Successful Athletes

First They Work Hard, Then They Work Harder

I set out to write an article about student athletes for Newtown Lifestyle Magazine’s August
issue. I planned on gathering information about workouts, sleep patterns, and nutrition regimes.
What I ended up learning was that, while all of these things are important, mental fitness and
commitment are what really sets athletes up for success. 


I met with Sean Hall and Doug Sharp who run Parisi Speed School in Newtown. They allowed
me to spend time talking and observing two of their student trainees; Luke Molden a rising
senior at Council Rock North High School and Ali Fleming, a rising sophomore at Archbishop
Wood High School.


Many student athletes have their eye on college sports and some even dream of playing at the
professional level. While most of us think that reaching elite status has everything to do with
athletic ability or a special skill or prowess; both Sean and Doug of Parisi say raw talent is the
least of what it takes to make a successful athlete.


One of the most important characteristics Sean (Parisi Speed School) sees in highly successful
athletes is coachability. In his view, what makes someone coachable is willingness and drive to
seek out coaching and direction in the first place. “You can tell when an athlete is there because
of their parents”, he said. “The ones that really want to be there are always trying to be better.
They want the attention of the coaches and want to hear and learn what they can do to reach
the next level."


Luke Molden of Council Rock has his eye on playing college football. A natural athlete who
played a range of youth sports, he soon found that he couldn’t wait for football season start, no
matter what sport he was playing. He eventually moved away from other sports and began
focusing solely on football. He is currently being recruited by several schools, and Hall and
Sharp say he is the type of athlete who has the commitment and mindset to take his
performance to the next level. Luke acknowledges that talent alone is not enough to help him
reach his full potential. He feels that coaching and the support of his family have helped him
maintain his focus, and that his team provides that sense of competition that makes him dig
deep to perform at his best. While the Covid-19 quarantine has derailed his training to some
degree, Zoom meetings with the team have helped him feel connected and keep that sense of
competition high.


Ali Fleming of Archbishop Wood is another athlete who understands the mental and physical
commitment needed to achieve at a high level in sports. Like Luke, Ali also enjoyed playing a
variety of youth sports, but soon found that basketball was her true passion. She believes the
trust she has in her coach makes all the difference for her success. She strives for strength and
focus to keep her team nationally ranked. Ali found that the isolation of the recent quarantine
allowed her more time to focus on herself and ways that she can improve personally. Although it sometimes felt like a challenge sticking to a routine on her own, she was able to keep herself on track.

Both of these athletes were absolutely certain that there are a few crucial things they do to keep
themselves on the path towards college sports. They each do something every day to work
towards their athletic goal. Everyday, all year long! They manage their nutrition and their sleep
all year long as well. While they may kick up their fitness regime in season, they are always
working on their physical bodies and the specifics of speed, strength and agility they need for
their sport. These athletes are always focused on keeping academics as priority one, so their
time management skills are very important. They put pressure on themselves to be the best
they can be, but more importantly, they put pressure on themselves to always be improving.
They work everyday to improve. Be better than you were yesterday is the mantra I heard over
and over. Successful athletes decide for themselves what they want and then they get to work!
All day, every day, all year-they work!

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