4 Necessary Ways to Optimize the Student-Athlete Experience
Updated: Mar 8
Being an athlete doesn't last forever. You can optimize your abilities and opportunities, or you can live with regret in the future. If you were given athletic ability don't waste your gifts or opportunities to leverage your platform for success.
The daily grind of a student-athlete is just that...a grind. Even more concerning is most of us are drifting through JUST hoping to be successful and the best version of ourselves.
Rather than feeling stuck, anxious, or uncertain, what if you knew what you wanted out of your experience AND how to get there?
What if you could optimize your experience so that what you do lines up with where you want to go?
Spoiler alert. You can! The very foundation of your lifestyle and what you can accomplish can be enhanced exponentially by laying a little groundwork.
But first, what is success?
“Successful Definition: Accomplishing an aim or purpose such as having achieved popularity, profit, or distinction.”
Do you have an aim or purpose? How can we accomplish an aim or purpose without having a clearly defined aim or purpose?
Perfect transition into the 4 insanely necessary ways to optimize your student-athlete experience.
1. LIFE DESIGN.
2. THE GAME PLAN.
3. “TIME IS MONEY” AKA PRODUCTIVITY PLANNING.
4. “DOING IT AND DOING IT AND DOING IT WELL”
What is Life Design? You guessed it. It’s a methodology for how you can design your life.
“Life Design is a creative, iterative (repetitive), human-centered problem-solving methodology that can be applied to navigate change and transition throughout life.” - Julia Lang, Professor of Practice and the Associate Director of Career Education and Life Design at the Taylor Center/Tulane University
If you are between the ages of 14 - 25 then you already know what it is. Navigating change and life transitions are the norm.
Why is it important? Your life is a “product” of your words, behaviors, and actions. Try creating a “product” without any blueprints, outlines, diagrams, or designs. Go ahead, I’ll wait...
Your life and student-athlete experience are no different.
If you have an end-goal in mind you can influence outcomes by choosing the words, behaviors, and actions that are more likely to take you there. Are you picking up what I’m putting down?
I hear you. Things aren’t always black and white. But I believe that those who choose to “go with the flow” are just masking some type of fear or character flaw (i.e. laziness).
Life Design is about taking a constructive and effective approach to finding and designing your life. How would you like to take a crack at that based on research, best practices, current trends, and frameworks? Thought soooooooooooo.
After all, it’s your life we are talking about here!
So, where do we begin?
10 Frameworks of Life Design (click through each link)
Build a network through empathizing and learning from others.
Try it out. Test your ideas and assumptions in the real world.
Focus on who you are evolving into, not one static future career
Public Service Announcement: Life design is not a linear process…It’s a series of mindsets and mental frameworks that helps one think and act like a life designer.
2 THE GAME PLAN:
Now, it’s time to put the ideas and vision to work.
Why is game planning important?
Your ‘game plan’ is your best chance of winning, and if you don’t have one, then you have definitely lost the fight because you will waste both time and resources… your money on the wrong activities and actions during your battle… that can leave you in danger of even more losses in the future, when you have drained those resources with little left in the tank. - Julie Choo, lead author of THE STRATEGY JOURNEY book and the founder of STRATABILITY ACADEMY.
This goes for “winning” outside the game as well.
Game planning, like life design, is all about the journey. It’s a repetitive process that will ebb and flow as you gain more life experience but it gives your vision a direction.
This means that it’s OK to change and adapt your plan with any new information you process.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” - Charles Darwin
What you want now may not be what you want 10 years from now. Don’t be fooled by the movies or TV shows that say you have to have it all figured out by birth. And, contrary to popular belief, we don’t know everything.
OK, let’s talk about creating your game plan.
I found two resources that will help you create your plan:
4 steps to create a Winning Game Plan - The Strategy Journey
Let me break the above down for for you right quick...
Define what the ideal looks like.
Define the behaviors and actions that provide the best opportunity to lead to the ideal.
3 “TIME IS MONEY” AKA PRODUCTIVITY PLANNING:
You know by now that “time is money.” So, we have to make sure we are money with our time!
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” - Benjamin Franklin
Liz Huber, Mindset & Productivity Coach and Founder of confidentcoachclub.com, is the author of How To Plan Your Day for Maximum Productivity: How to own your time through organization and intention.
She wrote that getting the right things done is all about intention on the outcome you want to achieve in a work session and the time you want to spend getting to that particular outcome. Otherwise we are just going with the flow and the following happens”
You are busy but not productive. Real progress and results are missing.
You are frustrated about not having enough time to finish your tasks (even though you actually do).
You are wasting your time with irrelevant tasks because you get pulled into random rabbit holes. When you’re just going with the flow, the simple thought “Let me quickly check this … ” turns into three hours of exploring an idea, strategy, or tool (i.e. unimportant work).
You feel overwhelmed and frazzled because you are constantly switching between tasks and being interrupted by urgent emails, phone calls, and notifications.
To plan your day she advises the following 5 step process:
1. Plan Your Day the Night Before
2. Plan Your Priorities and Goals First
3. Create a Daily Schedule
4. Batch Tasks and Time Block Everything
5. Plan Buffer Times
For a detailed analysis, complete with bonus tips, read her medium.com article HERE.
The next question naturally is, “how will I organize my tasks?”
If you are a high school student I highly recommend Athlete Foundry. It’s a complete app that lets you track, build, and communicate your student-athlete journey putting you in the best possible position to achieve your goal of playing in college. In it, it has both a task and calendar feature that can help you organize your productivity behaviors as your athletic and academic lives.
For all the techies out there here are 9 free productivity apps to help keep you in check.
For those of you that need pen and paper then The Strategist has got you covered right HERE.
4. “DOING IT AND DOING IT AND DOING IT WELL” AKA DOING THE RIGHT THINGS CONSISTENTLY:
Ahhhhhhhh...I’m talking about taking the right action consistently and sticking to your game plan.
“Success isn't always about greatness. It's about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” - Dwayne Johnson, actor, producer, businessman, former athlete, and owner of the XFL
I’ve given you a lot to read so let’s switch to video. I’ve curated 3 must-watch videos for the importance of, and how to build, consistency.
How To Be Consistent: 5 Steps To Get Things Done, All The Time
How to Stay CONSISTENT in Your Daily FIGHT | Eric Thomas (@Ericthomasbtc)
Ex-Navy SEAL Commander: How To Build Self-Discipline
Do you get it now? The higher up you go the difference between failure, mediocrity, good, great, and best is the level of consistency you bring to doing the things that produce the result you’re looking for.
“Most of you won’t be successful not because you can’t do it but you can’t outlast your old you long enough to get you your new you.” - Eric Thomas, #1 speaker in the world
Heads up because this is going to be the shortest conclusion I’ve ever written. I’ve brought you resources for how to design your life, craft your game plan, respect your time, and be consistent in behaviors that matter. The question is do you really want to have a life that matters? If so, you will do the things that matter to the life you want to live during your student-athlete experience and after.