Why I wish I had a mentor for my sporting career

Trying to figure out whether what you’re doing in your sport is enough to achieve your goals and aspirations?

While growing up with sport being a dream of mine, I remember getting caught up in so many questions about what I was doing.

Am I doing the right things?

What’s my diet mean’t to be?

How should I be structuring training?

What should I do during rest days?

Am I training enough?

How do I deal with these doubts?

How do I analyse my last performance?

The list is endless.

Knowing what I know now. I realise they were all-natural questions to be asking and thinking but at the time I had no clue. I did have times I felt lost.

I didn’t feel like I could go to my parents or coaches without the fear of judgement.

I would come home from training, games and, naturally, my parents would ask me about my day. But I couldn’t, whether it was because I was a teenage boy, bring myself to open up fully and not have it feel like a parent/child interaction.

I felt I couldn’t go to my coaches, as again, I felt, rightly or wrongly, that they would judge me on what I was asking and potentially have that effect my future selection.

My parents weren’t form sporting backgrounds. Nothing in the bloodline that would suggest I was from sporting ‘heritage”. They didn’t have the experience of going through it themselves. So who could I go to? Someone that I could ask these questions to, who would have answers or potentially similar experiences.

I got through most of my sporting career without having that mentoring role in my life, it something I wish I did have. Not that I was a lesser athlete for it, I am proud of how self motivated I was, but it would have been a great addition for moments where I possibly needed them from a neutral person. To have that conversation, guidance, reassurance, confidence, accountability, structure, whatever it needed to be. A part of me knows that the experience of finding out things yourself is a huge part of forging a strong understanding of who you are and what you do.

But what could have been great for me would have been that person to speak to when things weren’t going so great, not to change the situation but to give the reassurance that everything would be ok, which it most often was.

I recommend to anyone that has aspirations in sport, seek out the guidance of experienced players and athletes, find that neutral individual to listen to. If that’s not achievable, ask questions of those around you that potentially don’t have anything invested in your situation. Being able to speak about the experiences you are going through is something that will serve you well, both in sport and in life.

 

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