I really like what Jim Wendler writes. His advice to football players is good, but unfortunate that it even has to be said... regardless, the article struck a nerve with me, like Aron Ralston's dull knife...
1. Don't worry about your bodyweight.
I agree. The males that do usually start to carry around a belly that usually leads to an awkward pelvic position, leading to a whole potential load of problems: hamstrings, knees, or back, or just fatness, or fatness with injury. The females: weak. Weak because either they become afraid of lifting heavy weights (which really is the only thing that seems to make much of a difference), worried they will become too big or because of being malnourished, or usually both. Both make one weak.
Worry about training, practicing, and playing aggressively. Eat well for health. Better to be solid than soft. Better to be solid than frail.
2. Condition for practice, not the game.
I used to be all about training for the game, training smart, but unfortunately sports coaches don't always abide by smart. 2-a-days, 3-a-days, archaic conditioning tests, marathon practices, additional 'nail in the coffin' conditioning... not to mention the emotional side of it all (read: how to recover from an adrenaline bomb, or smaller, more consistent rounds of stress shots).
Athletes need to be hardened in training for anything. And let's be real, that soft, corrective bull or precise sport-specific conditioning rarely is going to save any athlete for what they will have to go through. Conditioning to survive and thrive in practice, because as Jim said, "you don't see the game if you don't practice well", or practice at all because of injury.
3. Have a role and fulfill that role to the best of your ability.
No shit. Jim's right, not everyone will be a superstar, just as blue ribbons and trophies for every participant is a waste of natural resources. I see this all the time with once high school stars, now turned average players at the college level... half-assed efforts, whining, and taking up space. Why put in the time and energy to go to practice, film, meetings, lifting, and the academic requirements? Just to say you wear a jersey? Shallow.
Personally, if I had to choose, I would rather die with honor. Control what you can control.
4. Don't be a dumb jock.
This drives me nuts. Why not be an intelligent bad-ass? Stupid is stupid. Now, just as not everyone can be a superstar, not everyone can be Einstein, but damn... at least try to correct stupid.
A common theme lately is attempts by s&c coaches to train their athletes like warriors', pretending to be Navy Seals (more on that another time) and such, but all true warrior cultures valued training the mind too, not just "mental toughness". Athletes, please do your part.
Intelligence, tenacity, and ability is scary, because they almost always lead to more of what currently is.
Also, if you really are intelligent, don't act dumb... and this is probably more often the case. Stop fretting about being "cool" among dumb peers. I am not sure why some athletes seem to value this (i.e. grammar skills). Actually, I do kind of get it... but knock it off, time to move on, and grow up.
At the very least, be independent to think for yourself and search for your own answers. Honestly though, the hand holding today from everyone really makes this challenging... recognize it and get beyond it.
5. Treat the people around you with respect.
This is hugely important. Females often do this better than the males, but it shouldn't matter, male or female: rule #1, don't be a dick (or bitch).
You shit like everyone else.