"To bear defeat with dignity, to accept criticism with poise, to receive honors with humility - these are marks of maturity and graciousness." - William Arthur Ward
Athletic and Social Development: Part 5 the Pay It Forward Years, late 30’s and beyond.
Physically, most elite and professional athletes careers are coming to an end, or have ended during this time. This doesn’t mean that athletes stop being active and stop being competitive. Some will find other sports to feed their competitive fire, with less intensity. Others will continue to stay active, participating in other sports or just by doing leisurely activities.
*The key is to build healthy habits throughout life to keep you active, healthy, and happy.
Socially, this is the time when athletes look to give back. Their highly competitive years have come to an end, and their focus turns to Paying It Forward. Be it coaching or mentoring, athletes are looking to pass on their knowledge to the next generation. It's also a time to reflect on past accomplishments.
With this in mind, I always ask athletes to write their own retirement speech. I.e., I’ll have a 20 yr old athlete look 50 years into the future and imagine he/she is at their own retirement party. I have them write down what he/she would highlight, what he/she would be proud of, what he/she would want to be remembered for. The athlete can even think of who they would have as their keynote speaker.
In the end, it’s important to have successes and long term goals in mind. However, it's also important to have athletes identify what's important to them as it relates to character, expectations, and legacy. If sports and being active don't have meaning behind it, you won't be motivated to compete and be active for life.
We hope you enjoyed this segment on long term social and athletic development.