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Leadership event informs athletes

Dr. Robinson pushes for professionalism

By Sean Whatley, staff writer
On March 6, 2014

  • Dr. Mark Robinson, a development consultant, introduces his “Personal Player Development” program in GA-50 on Thursday. Qing Huang / The Advocate

"Who are you? What are you good at? What do you want to become?"
These were the three questions guest speaker Dr. Mark Robinson posed to a room full of student-athletes during his Athletic Identity symposium.
The symposium was part of the African-American Male Leadership workshop and was held in GA-50 on Thursday.
The event started off with executive director of the Scholastic Interest Group, Malik Wade, sharing his history - that of an athlete who, through some bad decisions as a young man, was unable to live up to his athletic and academic potential.
Malik Wade urged the athletes to establish themselves as individuals with talents other than sports.
"Don't let people see you as just a football player," Malik Wade said. "Academics are what will sustain you for the rest of your life."
Before he started, Dr. Robinson opened the room up by joking with and relating to the athletes.
He talked about his experience as a student-athlete and his decision to pursue his bachelor's and doctorate degrees.
"I chose it because I knew that's where the women were," Robinson said.
Contra Costa College Athletic Director John Wade said, "We want to provide a relaxing environment. They're not getting graded so there's no pressure and there will be food, so they'll be more relaxed and more receptive."
During the workshop Robinson talked about the way athletes perceive themselves through various stages of their athletic lives and careers, which he calls athletic identity.
He said athletes may exhibit behaviors that are adverse to achieving success outside of sports and even fail to consider life after sports.
"Entitlement is the root problem in athletes," Dr. Robinson said.
He also spoke on unpreparedness - student-athletes may lack a definitive voice or sense of self when entering the workforce.
"As players on a team we have a 'we' mentality. When you go in for a job the employer wants to know about you," Robinson said.
The workshop was informative according to CCC football player Zeeno Williams.
"It brought attention to life after football. I learned I can't put all my eggs in one basket," Williams said.
The goal of the AAML workshop was to get the students focused and thinking about a career and life path outside athletics, John Wade said.
" We want to get these young men thinking beyond where they're at. They're not going to play forever," Wade said.
Robinson advised that all students should work on building networks that they can gravitate toward.
"Networks can be valuable. People you go to school with may become presidents and CEOs," Robinson said. "These relationships can help get you in the door (when you apply for a job)."
Wade said that the AAML group wants to get athletes involved in the process of choosing a career path.
"We want to get them early - to give them stuff that might not sink in or resonate now, but it gives them something they can refer back to," he said. 

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