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Balance – Career Planning

Desires & Goals

Decide what you want to achieve, be honest with yourself, there’s no reason to be hesitant when setting goals. If you don’t know what you want to do, you’ll have no solid direction and at the mercy of blind luck, with a severely low probability matriculation to a professional competition.

Realistic Expectations

Its important to achieve a balance  between what you want to achieve and what you can achieve. Set goals that are reasonable, but not too simple. Too often not enough effort is put into this critical stage of career planning, an athletes goals can be too simple or too literal. Like, “I want to score a goal every game”, a noble thought, but without reasoning behind it, its fairly meaningless, this type of goal should be a single part of an overall plan.

Fun can go out of sports for a youth athlete in a hurry when it stops being what she does just for fun and becomes something she does for an external reason: to get a scholarship, to win a game, to impress a scout, to please a parent. When such reasons for playing take over, the game becomes a chore and burnout becomes more likely.

Results & Milestones

Once you’ve got your goals and expectations outlined, you want to work out some key milestones to achieve progressively along the way. These will serve as progress markers and inspiration to keep striving for achievement.

Progressive Strategy

Your plan should incorporate multiple levels of goals.

  • Short Term (Daily/Weekly)
  • Medium Term (Monthly/Seasonal)
  • Long Term (Yearly +)

Exit Strategy

You can’t be an athlete forever, formulate a few realistic exit strategies that you would be happy with. You may not want to ever stop, but at least you can do it on your terms with no regrets.

Set yourself up for a life after your sports career. If you’re a parent or mentor of an athlete, plant the seed.