It seems like now more than ever, there are more seminars, conferences and talks associated with youth sporting events that go beyond the NCAA’s “Don’t Bet on it” video that explains how you can destroy your career by accepting gifts or throwing games.

These seminars range from manners and etiquette to leadership and sportsmanship to personal branding and financial literacy. Of course, being the competitive athletes that you are, you just can’t wait to get to the games. Easy there, Tiger. These seminars can offer good stuff, the type of information that will matter when the games end — which is sooner than you think.

As a student athlete you will be dragged from one event to another representing your various organizations. Before you clock out on what you might assume will be a drawn out speech on things that don’t matter much to you right now, take a wild chance and listen up.

Most of the people that take time out to host these events have been where you are and probably where you’re headed. They most likely wouldn’t be spending their time to try to share information with you if they didn’t think it could help you.

Mark Tillmon, the chairman and founder of the Shooting Straight Program — and a fellow former Hoya — held an event on financial literacy in conjunction with the second annual MLK Hoopfest Showcase on Jan. 19 at Coolidge High School. The financial literacy portion of the tournament was on Saturday even though games weren’t played until Monday, but that’s when the real learning took place.

The Theodore Roosevelt Rough Riders boys’ basketball team attended the session on Saturday and won their game against national power West Charlotte (N.C.) on Monday.

Roosevelt Coach Rob Nickens said that he knows his players learned from the workshop and that it was good for them. He even said he learned something himself, as a grown man with years of experience handling his own finances.

“I think the financial literacy workshop is outstanding because it can teach all walks of life how to live,” Nickens said.

I’ll admit I wasn’t sure if high school athletes would lock in on a topic like financial literacy, but Roosevelt players Micheal Warren and Troy Stancil told me the seminar was worth it. The guys recapped the “72 Rule” for calculating compound interest and strategies for saving and budgeting as if they were describing plays.

One of Warren’s takeaways: “Buy what you need not what you want, because you want a lot of things — and if you buy everything you want you’re going to go broke. But you don’t need a lot of things, so just buy what you need.”

I was impressed, and Tillmon was thrilled. He told me he was shocked as he walked by classrooms and saw how engaged the different teams were. Along with Theodore Roosevelt, teams from Eastern, McKinley, T.C. Williams, Wakefield and Oxon Hill all took advantage of the session.

Financial literacy is “a life skill that you need for the rest of your life, that’s why this is the core initiative for this event,” Tillmon said. “It’s not about the games, it’s all about the education and these kids and giving back something. [The games are] is just for entertainment purposes.”

Your career as an athlete will end, just like so many athletes who have now focused on giving back. But the information you can pick up along the way will still be viable. Part of using your sport to further your success is taking advantage of every resource and opportunity along the way, especially those dealing with life skills and not just the ones that help you improve physically.

When it’s all said and done maybe you’ll want to give back to the student athletes that come behind you. So be the kid you would want to see at your event later in life. Even if you don’t think you’re interested it can’t hurt to listen.

Related: Title IX Holiday Invitational offers more than just hoops

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Monica McNutt was an All-Met basketball player at Holy Cross Academy who went on to star for the Georgetown women’s team. She will be offering advice to high school athletes who are looking to make the leap to college sports

Got a question for Monica, or an idea she can use for a future post? Leave it here in the comments, or email her at Follow her on Twitter at @__MCM__.


Tips for making the most of your summer vacation (June 19, 2012)

Competing alongside your friends (May 30, 2012)

Dealing with a coaching change (May 3, 2012)

Taking advantage of social media (April 24, 2012)

Recruiting resources (April 18, 2012)

Managing the expectations of multiple coaches (March 27, 2012)

Coping with the ‘bad’ coach (March 20, 2012)

Dealing with injury (March 13, 2012)

The dual-sport dilemma (Feb. 20, 2012)

Making the most of your college experience (Feb. 14, 2012)

Handling your parents and coaches (Feb. 7, 2012)

Dealing with that special breed of fans: Your parents (Jan. 24, 2012)

Advice for the young star athlete (Jan. 17, 2012)

Offseason is right time to get with the program (Jan. 3, 2012)

Managing to stay close to the game (Dec. 20, 2011)

Leadership, Tebow-style (Dec. 13, 2011)

The importance of attitude (Dec. 6, 2011)

Fine-tuning your “mistake response” (Nov. 22, 2011)

Looking beyond the stat sheet (Nov. 15, 2011)

Battling the “dumb jock” stereotype (Nov. 8, 2011)

Taking advantage of your athletic resume (Nov. 1, 2011)

College recruiting: Finding a program that fits you (Oct. 25, 2011)

Navigating the recruiting process: “Get a clue, control your career” (Oct. 18, 2011)

Secrets to success: Food and rest (Oct. 11, 2011)

Introducing “Transition Game” (Oct. 4, 2011)