- Aunyae Imani
“Stay focused, stay ready” - Jalen Lee
Updated: Apr 11
Explosion Sports is a growing training program, with various ranges of athletes. Many of these athletes come out of the academy with a better understanding, and a competitive knowledge on the game of football. Jalen Lee for example, a young student athlete, started his experience with the Flight Academy in eighth grade. Lee stated that the academy boosted his football IQ and technique at a high level. Although he is only 18, Lee is very self driven, “I push myself to go hard and be where I’m at today”. Lee graduated from Fort Zumwalt North in 2022, and continued his football career at South Dakota state as a corner.
While training with Flight Academy Lee was able to build team bonds by connecting with the older players. Starting the program off in eighth grade prepared him for highschool ball. Lee says he was able to accumulate quicker due to the higher level of experience from the older players, who were also good role models. He says the academy also helped boost his confidence going into highschool ball. The experience of battling other talented athletes increased his level of play. Flight academy is about uplifting their athletes and pushing them to be resilient as ever on the field and off. Lee says he was able to take bits and pieces from Coach Greg and apply them to himself. The academy never made him feel stagnant. Lee says he was always growing as a person and player. He says the flight drills, the training styles, and the high intensity workouts, all mirror the challenges of highschool and college ball. These key elements taught him how to grind and keep moving forward. All in all, Lee made it to South Dakota state and was ready to ball out! He played in the National Championship game against North Dakota state and says it was a wonderful experience. “I was prepared for that my whole life” states Lee.
Being a student athlete has its advantages and disadvantages. However, Lee never lets himself get discouraged. “At the end of the day, it’s a choice you have to make”, says Lee. He uses his adversity as a student athlete to motivate him. “I didn't have opportunities to play on the next level until after my junior year of highschool. I didn't get discouraged though, family helped keep me motivated. And once I did receive an opportunity, I kept playing ball like I didn't have any.” He got accepted into South Dakota state and left St. Louis in June of 2022. Lee says he made sure to stay consistent with workouts and conditioning even during his off season. The journey of a student athlete is very treacherous. One must stay dedicated, motivated and focused. Keeping a to-do list and a steady routine helps Lee stay organized and on track. Student athletes deal with so much pressure and commitment, that it sometimes can be overwhelming. Lee says his team at South Dakota is very aware of these hardships and they offer mental resources such as coaches. The team meets with a mental coach once a week to visualize game plans and study plans. Lee says these sessions help him stay calm and focused on the matter at hand. On game days, Lee considers himself to be a 3 on a scale of 1 through 5. He states that he is “hype and calm” all at the same time. Lee has found a balance between the two and uses it to his advantage. He states that Flight Academy has bettered him not only as an athlete but as a person. Flight helped him reach his goal of playing ball on a high level.
To the younger student athletes preparing for highschool and college ball;
“Make your goal the center of your life, do not get side tracked, do not get down on yourself, stay collected in your movements, stay focused and stay ready for whatever” - Jalen Lee