COVID-19 has caused a lot of uncertainty, especially in high school and collegiate sports. For young athletes with aspirations of earning a scholarship to a Division I school, or increasing their draft value, staying motivated can be challenging without the knowing whether or not they'll be given the opportunity to play, which is why Las Vegas Raiders fullback Alec Ingold is determined to provide inspiration.
This offseason, the former Wisconsin Badger has been interested in giving back to the next generation by offering guidance to primarily high schoolers, but college athletes as well. Prior to the pandemic, Ingold was meeting with various high schools, connecting with student-athletes by telling his story from overlooked prospect to Big Ten playmaker.
During his trip to the Super Bowl in Miami back in February, Ingold saw first hand how he could make an impact on young minds around the country through social media, he just needed to figure out the best way to do it.
"My whole offseason, during the pandemic, has been trying to figure out how I can [motivate young athletes] the best way," Ingold said. "I've had a lot of good feedback, but I haven't been using social media to portray the message, and I felt like it was time with the season coming up — and football is going to be the number one, two and three priority for me. I wanted to continue what I've been doing, but in a manner where I can keep my priorities aligned, so I can stay relevant in all these kids' lives that I've met through Zoom."
Monday, Ingold launched his newest segment, "Mindset Monday." The one-minute Instagram clip is intended to motivate young athletes to stay rooted in their craft and continue their growth, despite not knowing if they'll have a football season this year.
As someone who knows the importance of having a strong senior season, Ingold can sympathize with these athletes because had it not been for his final year at Bay Port High School he might not be an NFL athlete.
"For a lot of these kids going through that struggle, they've worked so hard this entire offseason and now they're being told you can't have a season," he explained. "They can't get game tape to take that step into a college role, and it breaks my heart to know that they won't get opportunities because of this pandemic. I want to be a voice of reason and keeping your nose to the grindstone, just another message they can see on Instagram while they're doing whatever they're doing in a normal day."
Ingold's initiative has resulted in several high schoolers reaching out to share how his message motivated them to get in the weight room an extra day or tune out the negativity they're hearing around them. Ingold wants to ensure that he touches the lives of these kids by making them feel like their voice is heard and that they aren't alone during this difficult time in their lives.
"This is really the first step in trying to use a platform in a positive light," Ingold said when asked about how he'll try expand his impact. "There's so much toxicity in social media today, and to try and create an environment where people can try and come to find inspiration; whether that's a 'Mindset Monday' today, or there's a constant flow of information of feel-good stories. I don't know what the next step is, but I know this is an avenue I want to go down."
It's hard to predict the future, but Ingold is determined to remain a constant voice of encouragement for young athletes everywhere, regardless of whether they have a football season or not.