There is no doubt the underlying intention from all these people was meant to be positive, but to the athlete in me, all I heard was: “it was good while it lasted, but the best is behind you, it’s all downhill from here.” Despite a part of me that disagreed and was angered by the responses to my retirement news, I couldn’t help but 'overvalue' and internalize what others were implying about my future, and left me to consider, 'Am I worth anything to anyone anymore?'Read More
Anyone who works in or around elite and pro sport will understand how it is an all-consuming industry. Whenever I talk to young aspiring athletes I always tell them that being a professional athlete is not a job, it's a lifestyle, everything you do - 24 hours a day 365 days a year - impacts how you perform on game-day. Some athletes thrive in this whilst others struggle with it. I was in the struggle camp. When I was training or playing it was my aim to always give 110% effort to both what I was doing and to my team-mates, however, once I stepped out of the football club I needed to disconnect from 'footy' and focus on something completely different.Read More
At the Youth levels, a holistic and balanced approach should unequivocally be the focus. The overwhelmingly vast majority of athletes will not become pros and the true purpose of youth sports is teaching life lessons for kids to apply in all aspects of their lives. Teaching values, character and integrity through their passions is by far, the sole purpose. However, from my observation and experience, it is sadly the opposite.Read More
“My thought process is to just educate athletes and people around you about what is really going on, especially basketball players,” Jaylen Brown said. “A lot of people wait until the end of their careers to really get things going. I thought it would be more beneficial to start early, put your foot in the door and start educating yourself, because technology investments are where the real money is at.”Read More
We caught up with Dr. Judy Goss, the mental performance lead, at the Canadian Sport Institute in Ontario to get her thoughts on athlete development and more.Read More
I am all in. I am an athlete. I eat, breath, bleed and sleep my sport. I block out all extraneous distractions. I don't need or even speak to people unrelated to my sport or training. All activities that don't directly or even indirectly impact how I perform on the playing surface get excluded from my life. I am all in. I am an athlete.
Is this a recipe for sustained elite athletic performance or a human train-wreck?Read More
Where is your game mentally? Is your mind conditioned to provide direction and control over those polished physical skills when it’s time to perform? The mind is the link between preparation and performance, and it is essential to have adaptive and effective mental conditioning in order to achieve peak performance. Mental conditioning is a process that can be developed, refined, and shaped over time. Incorporate these strategies to develop a strongly conditioned mind that is primed to empower your best performance.Read More
Not too long ago, if you'd mentioned the words mindfulness or meditation in a sporting locker room, you would have been laughed out the door.
Mindfulness and meditation are not yet buzz-words. However, stories of individuals and teams successfully applying the techniques for improvements in both performance and resilience are becoming much more common.
Whilst many of the anecdotes you have heard as to the benefits of mindfulness are likely based on personal, subjective stories; there are numerous substantive studies backing the claims of the benefits of mindfulness for athletes. These benefits include increased composure, greater reaction speed, improved concentration and focus, and a higher potential to reach a state of ‘flow.'Read More
We think of transitions as times we made big changes- Moving away from home, leaving a team and starting with a new one, graduating from school, job restructuring, and retirement. But in reality, we are always making transitions, some are big, some are small. The small ones prepare us for the big ones. The process can be the same. And if you keep the process the same, then the big, sometimes intimidating, transitions, can be managed more effectively. To the point where transition isn’t a negative experience, but a very positive experience.Read More
News flash! All professional athletes are going broke and getting divorced! 78% of NFL'ers. 60% of NBA athletes. And it happens fast! Within 2 to 5 years of your last game. If you are athlete, hunker down. If you are fan, think to yourself, ‘these athletes are so stupid, how can they lose all that money’.
These were claims made in Pablo S. Torre Sports Illustrated article titled, 'How (and Why) Athletes Go Broke', published in 2009, almost 10 years ago. As outlined in a previous post you can read here; these numbers are utterly false. They were made up. They were pulled out of someone's (if charitably described) hat. They have no basis in fact. In my post, I cite research that directly contradicts the 'facts' outlined in Torre’s article.Read More
Enshrined above the entrance to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi reads, “Above all else, know thyself”. Considering that Apollo was the Greek god associated with great feats of athleticism, one can’t help but consider the role self-awareness contributes to athletic performance. In my experience as a professional athlete, the greatest performers tended to exhibit high levels of self-awareness in many facets of their lifeRead More
The life of an elite athlete is a stressful one both physically and mentally. The physical stressors associated are addressed but the mental stressors aren’t often given much credence at all.
It begs the question, where’s the ‘injury prevention’ program for the mental side of the game? What are athletes being provided by way of a mental strength and conditioning program so they are put in position to thrive and enjoy the unique experience of being an elite athlete?Read More
Sports are a powerful force in our society. We get united through sports; it keeps us healthy, it provides us entertainment, we develop relationships, we learn values and it provides us with endless opportunities in the form of education, business and overall life experiences. Ironically, those that can leverage the greatest outcomes from their sport experiences, elite and professional athletes, are the ones that sit on the sidelines and miss out. Many of them simply don’t harness or recognize the leverage they have, or know how to access it. Sadly, in many instances, sport uses them. Sports should provide opportunity for all athletes, especially those that dedicate themselves to reach the peak of their profession. But we need to change the traditional view of how athletes are developed and moulded.Read More
There was a time, not long ago, when speaking of athlete development, you would think of; training harder, running faster, throwing farther.
Even more recently, when thinking of athlete development, many would think of services and resources designed to help athletes transition out of sport. Although important, it led athletes to equate athlete development services and the people who offered them to an on-going and endless discussion about the death of their sports careers. Who amongst us is eager to discuss our own funeral?Read More
Many people are inclined to think that somehow professional athletes are kind of like robots. They go out onto the court, the field or the ice surface and they just play. They are not human beings but professional athletes!
The idea that athletes are like robots has been exacerbated by several trends in the sport world including; the ‘Moneyball-ization’ of athletic performance, the expanding world of fantasy sports, the ever increasing amounts of money paid to professional athletes and of course the ubiquitous media chatter and hype.Read More
No one is ever going to hold a telethon or launch a kickstarter campaign to support a retired [or active] multi-millionaire athlete who isn’t quite sure what his [or her] next step is after their sport career concludes.
The common refrain is that Jane Public can’t be blamed for being incredulous that a retired athlete with millions in the bank is struggling to find something to do, to find that new passion outside of sport. Perhaps it is true. If it is, the fault lies in the public’s misconception about professional athletics. Not all athletes become multi-millionaires. Being a professional athlete isn’t something that happens to you. It is a job. A hard job. A job that started, for some athletes, in early adolescence and took years and years of sacrifice and training, just to get a shot.Read More
When you hear something over and over and over again it becomes fact. Research backs it up. If something is repeated again and again and again, its deemed to be true. Or at least plausible. Dictators know this. Fox News knows this. The maxim of three sides to every story is so true. Your story. My story. And the facts.
A key ‘fact’ that drives the industry in which I work (Athlete Development or Player Development) is that the vast majority of professional athletes upon leaving sport will be broke and/or divorced within two years.Read More
Athlete development versus player development can be a source of confusion within the sport community. Player development is typically described as the process of making athletes more skilled within their specific sport domain. In a hockey context this could include skating faster, shooting harder and/or stickhandling better.Read More