Broke and Divorced
Self-Insight to Enhance Athletic Performance:
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.
MENTAL REPS: TRAINING RESILIENT MINDS IN ATHLETES
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 life
Leverage Your Experience! The Real Power of Sport
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?
ATHLETE DEVELOPMENT. IT IS ABOUT PERFORMANCE. PERIOD.
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.
ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE STARTS OUTSIDE OF PRACTICE
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?
NO TELETHONS FOR PRO ATHLETES
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.
CRUSHING A GARBAGE ATHLETE MYTHOLOGY
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.
ATHLETE DEVELOPMENT VS. PLAYER DEVELOPMENT: THE DISTINCTION
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.
ATHLETIC DEPARTMENTS: DON’T BE A DUMPSTER FIRE
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.
ATHLETE DEVELOPMENT: IT'S ABOUT PERFORMANCE
It is pretty easy from the cheap seats to ask the question, ‘how does Jimbo Fisher still have a job’? Florida State University has dealt with and continues to deal with multiple high profile incidents of poor student-athlete behaviour. This led to the FSU president’s much publicized visit to the football team’ locker room.
ARE SUPER MODELS SUPER SMART & ATHLETES STUPID…?
Regularly I hear stories about ‘old school’ sports executives who can’t fathom their athletes participating or being involved in anything that isn’t directly related to or tied to their respective sport. These old school sport executives espouse the viewpoint that an athlete who isn’t 100% focused on their sport, 100% of the time simply isn’t fully committed to being an elite athlete.
That could be described as ‘old school’, but it is in fact old and dumb.
It would be easy to think that supermodels and athletes do not have a lot in common, from a career perspective at least. Super models and pro athletes make their living in short and time compressed industries. Although pro athletes are more likely to have faces made for radio than the catwalk, the career of a model is analogous to a professional sport career.