WHAT CAN YOUNG ATHLETES LEARN FROM TIM TEBOW?

You literally cannot turn on the radio or television without hearing or seeing Tim Tebow this week, especially if you live in Denver like me. Everyone has their differing opinions about him and he is one of the most polarizing sports figures ever. I figured that I might as well jump on the bandwagon and blog about him as it is such an interesting topic to people, especially to my Colorado community! I personally respect him as an athlete and as a person and hope that he has continued success. Without even getting into the religious side of things, I feel he is a good role model for young athletes. He exhibits a number of traits that are key to success in life as an athlete and in the real world. Here are some of those aspects of his personality that I feel young athletes can try to emulate to find success for themselves :

1. Tebow believes in himself. He isn't cocky or overconfident. He certainly isn't arrogant. But, he has a strong confidence in himself. When things go poorly, he knows that he can bounce back. When people says that he cannot do something, he politely smiles and does it anyway. I think this is the most important trait for any young athlete to have. Confidence in sports is the deep knowing that you can do almost anything if you commit yourself towards that goal.

2. Tebow works as hard or harder than anyone on his team. I have a couple friends that work for the Broncos organization and they back up everything people say about Tebow when it comes to hard work. He is the first one to practice and the last one to leave. When reporters ask him what he thinks of his own level of play after every game, he responds that he just has to get back to practice and work harder the following week. I see so many young athletes out there who have dreams of playing professionally or in college, but they are not willing to live the reality of hard work and dedication. You CANNOT get great at sports by playing four hours of XBox or watching television every night. The only way you can become great is by working harder than everyone else around you.

3. Tebow is present and focused. I do not necessarily have the same religious beliefs as Tebow, but I do know one thing - any form of prayer or meditation, under any belief system, helps us to become more present and grounded. That is a helpful quality to have when you are competing and under pressure. The only way you can perform at your optimum level in any sport is by being present.

4. Tebow maintains perspective on life. When he wins, he is happy but acknowledges that it was just a game and that there are other more important things in life. When he loses, he is bummed but explains that he still has other things in life like his faith and family to lean back on. This is a big one for young athletes! Playing and winning in sports is a lot of fun, but it is not the end of the world if you lose! It is important for us to try and be our best at a chosen sport, but then know that we have a lot more in life to be grateful for.

5. Tebow is humble. Some of these sports reporters say that his humility is fake or inauthentic, but all I know is that he always praises his teammates and never himself. That in itself in the professional sports world is amazing to see. When the Broncos lose, he is willing to accept responsibility and acknowledge that there are areas where he needs to improve. When they win, he praises his teammates because he knows that he could not have won the game without them. This type of humility helps an athlete maintain an even keel throughout the ups and down of athletics.

6. Tebow is just himself. Maybe Nike should change their slogan for him to "Just Be It"! He does not compromise on his beliefs or let his morals be swayed by anyone. He is who he is. I think this may be the main reason why people either absolutely love him or hate him. People either respect this trait in others because they recognize that they want that for themselves or they hate it because they are jealous and they do not understand that is what they want for themselves! This is a HUGE teaching for young athletes on and off the field. Be who you are, nothing more and nothing less. Do not be afraid to show others your true colors. They may respect you and if so, great! They may judge you or make fun of you and if so, then that's their own deal.

7. Tebow is INTENSE. Man, when you see that guy get fired up on the sideline...look out. Competition is intense! You have to bring that type of energy onto the field if you want to be your best and have success. I see too many young athletes today who seem to think it is not cool to be intense and try hard. You better find something else to do with your life if you think that way. Intensity is one of the most fun parts about playing sports so BRING IT!

So, that's my two cents! Amidst all the egotism and questionable life choices of many collegiate and pro athletes, there are still many out there who we can all learn from and take their lessons into our own athletic pursuits and lives. That is the beauty of athletics! Even if Tim Tebow never wins another game for the Denver Broncos, he has brought all of us a gift. But, now it's your turn to bring your own unique gifts to your team, your sport and your life. The best part is, you don't have to make millions of dollars or be on the television and radio every two seconds to do so!