What are Your Secrets to Success…? Mentors

February 21st, 2018 | by Jake Hirshman
What are Your Secrets to Success…? Mentors


20 Secrets to Success for NCAA Student-Athletes Who Won’t Go Pro provides insights into why a mentor is crucial for student-athletes to have during their athletics experience and after. Not only are the insights important for the student-athlete, but can be very useful for the mentor themselves. Having a better understanding of what the student-athlete is going through, and what challenges they face is extremely important in guiding the person. For those mentors who weren’t student-athletes themselves, this resource can help make you an even better mentor.  


“Every student-athlete and their mentors should read this book, without question. It brings into focus both the challenges and the opportunities inherent in being a collegiate athlete. Most importantly, it outlines a plenary framework for how to successfully navigate the landscape and develop an outstanding life plan.”
– Debbie Yow, Director of Athletics, NC State

To continue the thoughts from my article last week about how donors can help advance student-athlete development, alumni who maybe don’t have the money like donors do can give back via their time. What former student-athlete doesn’t want to be reconnected to their sport and team via a current student-athlete? It’s truly a no-brainer.


Having a mentorship program between student-athletes and alumni is a recipe for success. Starting the program is the hardest part, but once it is successful and the student-athlete graduates, they then become a part of the program because of how much it helped them. Year after year, it continues to grow and become more successful. You can easily set up a program where the graduating senior of “x” team becomes a mentor for an incoming freshman the following year. The number of seniors graduating and incoming freshman may not always be equal, but that is where former student-athletes from years past can help balance that out.

I was fortunate to have about 10 different mentors by the time I was done competing, and none were associated with playing baseball or my academic personnel. Not only did my mentors provide me guidance and advice for my career endeavors, but they also helped me face challenges as I was transitioning into life, no longer a baseball player.

Mentors are not always your coach or your academic coordinator, but someone who can provide non-biased advice and insights to you from an outsiders perspective. And encouraging student-athletes to have support outside of their athletic department is key as well. Developing trusted relationships to rely on in the future is priceless.

Next week’s article will feature what this mentorship program could look like, and how to create the framework for one. Stay tuned!

Jake Hirshman About Jake Hirshman
Jake Hirshman is a former student-athlete at the University of Redlands and Ohio University, and now co-author of “20 Secrets to Success for NCAA Student-Athletes Who Won’t Go Pro”. After finishing his undergraduate degree in 3 years, and bouncing back from a career changing injury, Hirshman pursued two masters degrees at Ohio University. One in Sport Sciences and Recreation, and the other as a member of the Sports Administration Program. After leaving Athens, he worked in Player Development for the Seattle Mariners, as a coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks Academy, and as Special Events Coordinator for Major League Baseball’s Arizona Fall League. As a young professional, Hirshman’s goal is to positively impact student-athletes and help prepare them for life after sport.

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