If you are a player looking to play at the high school, college or professional level, I am sure you want to achieve your goals. Some players just want to get faster, bigger, stronger or just train and play smarter. We all want to achieve certain goals in life but we don’t all have the same drive or knowledge to get it done.
Achieving your goals is your main responsibility and your hard work, passion and dedication will eventually show how bad you want to improve and succeed. It’s never an easy way to climb that mountain and many don’t make it to the top. But for those who make it, they will tell you that every step was well worth.
I often seen talented players fail due to lack of motivation, a bit unlucky, and lack of mentorship while they got burned out. Sometimes, a little piece of advice can go a long way. The outcome can be so rewarding as long as the players feel the engagement and connection with their coaches or mentors. The path becomes more clear and every move can get you closer to success.
I have outlined 10 quick tips to help athletes stay focus and achieve any goal they may have. In many cases a player’s attitude and character can often decide how far s/he will go. I just want to share my advice based on my experience. I truly wished someone had told me all these tips while I was in high school. I am aware that I had structure, learn discipline, had to report and show up for practices and games. I’ve been fortunate enough to have coaches who cared for me and the team. Most importantly I focused my time and energy on something I loved doing, playing soccer. So let’s get started.
1. Focus On Commitment
If you truly want to improve in your sport, in life or on one of your weaknesses, the main goal is to know how bad you want it. How much time, energy and sacrifices are you willing to make in order to achieve your goal. If you are fully committed then your motivation will fallow. You will have to take risks to find out your limits. It’s time to get serious and go fully in for your dream. Start now.
2. Invest In Yourself
This is the best investment you will ever make. Read, do your research, network, go for tryouts, attend college ID camps, seek exposure, you name it. Whatever you do, seek for knowledge because that’s the most powerful thing you will come across. When opportunities will come your way, it will be easier for you to choose the one that fits your needs best. All your actions are more calculated and therefore the outcome should benefit you more. The minute you stop learning, it’s the moment you stop growing. Don’t let it happen to you.
3. Make Your Journey Fun
If something is not fun, no one enjoys doing it. Therefore, you will never find new ways to expand your knowledge and improve yourself from the heart. Play your sport because you choose it and not because someone else did it for you.
Make sure you are the one having fun and I am sure your family, friends and coaches will support you along the way. Making the journey fun will help you survive all the hardships that will come your way with more ease. You will find the power, strength and energy within yourself to overcome all your obstacles. The ride can be fun but you are in the driver seat.
4. Have Positive Thoughts
Your thoughts will influence your feelings. Just like your feelings will determine how you view your work in progress. You need to stay grounded and have your mindset focused on your goals. You can’t think about fear, doubts or not taking the chances. You need to think of the excitement and celebrate every opportunity that comes along the way. When you fail, learn and move on quickly. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. You will eventually succeed if you are persistent.
5. Be Creative
There are many players who get creative with their routines, habits or even style. Everyone is different and therefore we all like different things. So, start using your imagination to find new solutions to your problems. Try new routines and new exercises to see what happens and what kind of reactions you get.
Now, use your imagination and say to yourself only positive things for the next week. See what happens when you have a positive attitude and I am sure you will see small improvements. You’ll become what you feed your mind, so get creative, seek new challenges and get positive thoughts.
6. Timing Is Key
Know what you want, train for it and conquer when you seek the opportunity. For example, if you want to play for a D1 school and you are currently a Senior in high school, it will be more difficult for you to find a school to play for or get a scholarship. Why? You are probably one or two years late to the party. Timing is very important. The more you can plan, the better you can time your next steps.
There are also many talented athletes that have failed to get into a top program and showcase their talent due to poor timing. The rosters have been locked and there were no more spots or scholarships available. Everything happens very fast in today’s world. Plan, prepare and time your moves ahead of time. But hurry because someone is already working on it. That would be called your competition.
7. No Distractions
Remove yourself from distractions or people that will hold you back from achieving your goals. I know, this is hard but you do it for yourself. Learn to focus on what is most important to you.
If you play Pokemon Go, don’t expect great results in return. Pokemon won’t get you a scholarship or a job. It will only slow you down while others will outgrow and outsmart you. This is the reality. We can all get easily distracted but the best players remain focused on their goals. You decide for yourself.
8. Don’t Depend On Others
Never expect anyone to do the work for you. You are in charge of your own destiny so make sure to do the work so you can celebrate the success. Everyone around you is busy. Don’t wait for your high school coach to connect you with college coaches. That’s your job just like all the other ones.
If help from someone ever comes along the way, that’s great. Take it but don’t expect it.Nicolae A. Popescu, Founder @ WeGotPlayers
If you work without planning, you will never know where you will end up. Plan your roadmap and strategy on how you will achieve your goals. Have a weekly calendar, note when, how and what you will do first. Plan to prioritize working on most important things to you. Always look back, review how the week went and what you could do to improve. The more you master this, the more you will plan on how to work and focus more effectively.
10. Don’t Burn Yourself Out
I remember when I was playing soccer at IMG Academies back in 2001. There was a time when I got burned-out. This is what happened. So, I decided to stay on campus for the Christmas break and that was a big mistake. I went on the fields to train alone and work on my skills, free kicks, corner kicks, etc. By the time my teammates came back from vacation, I had no energy and felt exhausted. I was competing against players who were well rested, eager to play and psychologically ready for any challenge. I didn’t have the same drive and hunger as before. My crazy motivation didn’t allow me to slow down.
Burnouts often happen with athletes who play one sport only. That was my case and I was luck I didn’t get many injuries. As an athlete you need to find a balance and give your body enough rest and sleep to recover properly. Since I was so motivated, it was easy to get burnout. I never took the time to reflect on myself or give my body a well deserved rest.
Always be curious and find new ways to improve yourself and achieve your goals. Seek for knowledge on how to work smarter, faster and more efficient than anyone else around you.
Please don’t make the same mistakes as I did. Learn from them and do better than me. Let me know how far your sports journey will take you. Good luck.