Mentoring and Athletes

Learning that there is knowledge and wisdom to be found everywhere is something that seems to come with age; a fact which can be very frustrating when working with young people who often don't want to listen - no matter how important or useful the information you're trying to convey!

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Dan Jackson
A Peek Behind the Curtain of Team Athletics

There are many things to miss about being a collegiate athlete but personally, the hardest thing to leave behind is the camaraderie and environment that brings. Being a member of a college team is, I think, unlike anything in the world. Members are brought together from all over, joined, in the beginning, by nothing more than their love for a sport that frequently doesn’t love them back.

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Harry Mclellan
The FIFA World Cup: The World’s Biggest Stage

The FIFA World Cup is by far one of the most significant global events other than the Olympics.  The meeting of 32 teams of different ethnicities, backgrounds, and training reminds the world of their love for soccer: the competition, the upsets, and the sense of nationality that brings people together as nothing else can.  The World Cup also acts as a distraction from the pressing world issues we face today. For example, the Saudi Arabian attack on Yemen. With so many countries competing in this tournament, one would think the conflicts between nations or situations impacting the athletes would be brought into the spotlight along with the teams.  But with the 2018 World Cup entering its final weeks, have the athletes and fans taken advantage of this global platform the World Cup provides to promote the global issues that need to be addressed?

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Athlete Approaches to Athlete Development

Working regularly with professional athletes, I am constantly amazed at the diversity of interests, skills, and ambitions these athletes have outside of their sport. For me, these experiences put the proverbial nail in the coffin of the old stigma that athletes are dumb, uneducated, and one-dimensional.

More than ever athletes are diversifying both their personal and professional interests.  That approach pays huge dividends to both their current careers and life beyond the game, which is a great thing.

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Benefits of Travel

It’s 6:00 AM. Wake up. Eat breakfast. Time to train. 12:00 PM - eat again. Talk to trainers and coaches. 3:00 PM - Go to class. 5:00 PM - Eat dinner. Do homework. Sleep. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Routine; it’s something every successful athlete needs. Constantly planning out every minute of every day helps keep someone on track to where you want to go. What happens if you never get off the endless cycle of routine? 

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A New Dismount

When I was a sophomore at the University of Illinois (UIUC) my Men’s Gymnastics team coach and mentor, Justin Spring, gathered the team and asked, “What’s a belief?” Following minutes of consideration and several incorrect answers he divulged “A belief, is nothing more than a recurring thought.” This quote stuck with me for my entire collegiate career and thus began my fascination with the simple concept which forever changed my perspective.

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Setting Young Athletes up for Success in Sport and in Life

There's no secret to how the most successful athletes get to where they are. They work hard. Discipline is what turns talent into ability. Yes, talent, opportunity, perhaps luck, all help on their journey to success, but in the end, athletes who make it to the elite level have all done the hard work required.

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No Time For The Future

It dawns on players (in most cases) that spending all their downtime watching movies, shopping at the mall, playing video games, going to the mall, playing cards, hanging out at the mall or just driving around isn't necessarily the most productive use of one's time.  As one player once noted, 'There really are only so many times you can go to the mall or watch Sports Center."

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An Aussie and a Canuck walk into a bar...

Athlete development seeks to address the development of the athlete as a holistic person. The objective with athlete development is to not only better prepare the individual athlete to compete but also assist the athlete in addressing the other areas of his life which can impact athletic performance and personal self-efficacy. We did a Q & A with our two resident athletes, Jay and Dan, to discuss athlete development topics both narrow and broad.

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Meditation and Mindfulness

Finding time within an athlete’s schedule may seem like a challenge but the results can be worth it. For athlete’s such as Humana-Paredes it can be just a minute or two a day. Other people may prefer a longer practice. There are many resources out there to guide you through the meditation process, you just have to look! Discover some mental practices compatible to you, a quiet place and a few spare minutes to get started.

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FOCUS on Being Enterprising Pt. 1

Not dissimilar to being an enterprising entrepreneur, we all need a strategy.  Effective strategies all start with Foresight. For athletes, many times they can be lured into a false sense of security after reaching the elite levels.  They reach the summit and then, through no fault of their own, forget about the principles that got them there. They stop looking ahead and dreaming, stop evolving their brand, stop connecting with people that can help them reach their dreams, stop looking for opportunities and narrow their views on ways to improve performance.  

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John Hierlihy
Discontinuous Change in Pro Sport

Incrementally, as athletes become more comfortable in their respective athletic roles, they learn to deal with the familial challenges, media glare and how to prepare to perform at their peak on a consistent basis (the big caveat being they figure this out before they are released, cut, injured, etc., but in this instance, let’s assume best case scenario).  In essence, this is the rookie athlete learning the ropes early in his career and evolving both as an athlete and a person.

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Duncan Fletcher
Celebrating Women's History Month!

Athlete development is often perceived as just helping athletes with career transition. This viewpoint leaves out all of the successes that athletes are having during their athletic career. It’s Women’s History Month so let’s look at a few of the female athletes who have used sport to achieve excellence on and off the playing surface.

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Kelsey Puckett
Reactions to my Retirement

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?'  

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Jay Harrison