The Ultimate Student-Athlete Dilemma 🤔
I hope I can help you avoid this mind f***
This week I’m breaking down the 10 dilemmas the modern-day student-athlete faces today and how to use peak performance strategies to navigate them.
Connect with me on LinkedIn so we can keep the conversation going.
Another week has gone by and another state has approved NIL for high school student-athletes.
Do you know what my 17-year-old self would’ve been thinking if this had happened while I was in high school?
💭My 17-year-old self's thoughts:
And last week, Utah football players received Ram trucks due to their collective NIL deal which stipulates only “scholarship” players were awarded a truck.
Now, I won’t speak on the details of the NIL deal since that’s not my lane, personal branding with the help of peak performance strategies is. So I’ll dive into this in a later edition.
But this just shows how every student-athlete on campus isn’t massively benefiting from NIL.
It shows some tough dilemmas student-athletes will be put in with accepting NIL deals and then considering transferring.
And it definitely shows the dilemmas high school student-athletes will be placed in while considering who to commit to.
Then I became curious about all the dilemmas the modern-day student-athlete faces today and wanted to explore them.
But first, what exactly is a “dilemma”?
Dilemma Deep-dive 🌊🤿
A dilemma is a situation or problem that presents a difficult choice between two or more alternatives, where each option has its advantages and disadvantages, and the decision-maker is often faced with conflicting moral, ethical, or practical considerations.
Dilemmas typically involve difficult decisions where there may not be a clear or easy solution, and making a choice often involves trade-offs.
The process of resolving a dilemma often involves careful consideration of the pros and cons of each option, seeking advice or guidance, and making a decision that aligns with one's values and priorities, even if it involves making a difficult choice.
Based on this definition, student-athletes experience a plethora of difficult choices today. But these 10 stand out the most.
10 Dilemmas The Modern-Day Student-Athlete Experience
As I go through the 10 dilemmas, I’ll also provide a peak performance strategy that can assist with resolving the dilemma and making the right choice. If the dilemma applies to you, apply the strategy asap!
1️⃣Planning & Scheduling
Balancing academic commitments with heavy-duty training and competition schedules can create time management dilemmas. Student-athletes often face the challenge of allocating their time effectively to excel both in their studies and in their sports.
🔥PEAK PERFORMANCE STRATEGY: 80/20 Rule
Instead of cramming everything into one day or attempting to complete a lofty to-do list; focus on the 20% that gets 80% of the results you want. Sure knocking off all 10 items on a to-do list would feel great, but how often does this actually happen? Attack the 2 hardest items on the to-do list first. This will many times knock out other items on the list simultaneously.
2️⃣Injury & Recovery
Dealing with sports-related injuries can lead to dilemmas. Student-athletes may grapple with decisions regarding when to push through pain and when to prioritize rest and recovery, all while considering the potential long-term consequences.
🔥PEAK PERFORMANCE STRATEGY: The Grit To Recover
Not all recovery strategies are the same. There’s passive and active recovery.
Laying down and watching TV would be passive. TV keeps the brain active in an unusual way. Real recovery requires shifting brain waves into the alpha range.
Active recovery is the opposite. It ensures that the brain stays off and the body can mend. By flushing stress hormones from the system and shifting brain waves into alpha, then delta, active recovery practices allow us to reset.
3️⃣Academic Performance vs. Athletic Performance
Striking the right balance between maintaining strong academic performance and excelling in sports can be a significant dilemma. Pressure to perform in both areas can lead to tough choices.
🔥PEAK PERFORMANCE STRATEGY: “Stack”
Stack means to cultivate, amplify, and align. Instead of having a versus mindset between academic and athletic performance; find a way they stack. Find a way the skills from one can amplify the other. Or how the success from one aligns to help you experience freedom/creativity in the other one.
Student-athletes may encounter dilemmas related to social activities and peer pressure. And in addition to your inner circle (family, friends, teammates, coaches, athletics staff); you have to worry about the world’s opinions on social media. They might need to decide whether to engage in certain social events that conflict with their training or academic responsibilities.
🔥PEAK PERFORMANCE STRATEGY: Truth Filters
In peak performance, you need a growth mindset to prepare the brain for learning, while the right “truth filter” helps us to assess and evaluate what is being learned. The scientific method is a form of a truth filter. And so is Elon Musk’s “first-principle thinking”. The key here is to find a filter that allows you to do just that: filter the BS from the truth.
As student-athletes approach graduation or the end of their athletic careers, they may face dilemmas regarding their future career paths. Choosing between pursuing a professional athletic career, a dream job, or starting a business can be a complex decision.
🔥PEAK PERFORMANCE STRATEGY: Skills Checklist
I talked about skills that matter the most in today’s climate and marketplace in last week’s edition. Click here to check it out. Be sure to build your skill toolkit like it’s 2023…not 2003.
6️⃣Moral & Ethical Dilemmas
Student-athletes may encounter moral or ethical dilemmas in sports, such as dealing with issues of fair play, sportsmanship, or integrity. And a plethora of dilemmas outside of the game such as NIL and the transfer portal. These dilemmas can pose challenges to their personal values and principles.
🔥PEAK PERFORMANCE STRATEGY: MTP
MTP stands for Massively Transformative Purpose. Massively means large and audacious. Transformative means being able to bring significant change to an industry, community, or planet. And purpose? A clear why behind the work being done. This can also serve as a filter to keep your mind on the important things that matter in life.
7️⃣Burnout & Well-Being
Decisions related to managing stress, preventing burnout, and prioritizing mental and physical well-being can be dilemmas for student-athletes, as they strive for peak performance while maintaining their health.
🔥PEAK PERFORMANCE STRATEGY: Flow
Grit - Flow = Burnout. In other words, it’s doing the hard things in life, for an extended amount of time, without experiencing the rewards of flow. The state of flow is when we feel our best and perform our best. The state is a neurochemical cocktail of the brain’s reward chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. These neurochemicals also flush stress hormones out of our system, which helps our nervous system reset and advocate overall well-being.
8️⃣Picking Between Personal and Team Goals
Student-athletes may face dilemmas when their personal goals and aspirations conflict with the objectives of their team or coach. Deciding when to prioritize individual development or team success can be challenging.
🔥PEAK PERFORMANCE STRATEGY: “Stack”
Stack is also the answer here but this time it’s aligning team success to amplify personal success. It’s cultivating your personal success to add value to the team. A mindset shift from “this/that” and “either or” to “both/and” needs to happen here. Both you and the team can succeed here. Technically a “choice” doesn’t have to be made.
9️⃣Academic Eligibility and Compliance
Navigating the rules and regulations of collegiate athletics can present dilemmas related to eligibility and compliance. Student-athletes must make choices that ensure they meet academic requirements while adhering to athletic guidelines.
🔥PEAK PERFORMANCE STRATEGY: “Meaningful Work”
In an earlier edition, we talked about the habit of inferiority being a disconnection from meaningful values and meaningful work.
Disconnection from meaningful work: being forced to do work (lack of autonomy) that is boring or overwhelming and does not advance core skills (lack of mastery.)
Be sure that your academics are properly aligned with your MTP. That way you’re not being forced to do it and it advances your core skills.
The Ultimate Dilemma🤔
The 10th dilemma is by far the most severe.
It’s the dilemma that sparked me to write my book.
And it’s the one I aim to reshape how we view it.
🔟Life After Sports Transition
Planning for life after sports can be a significant dilemma. Student-athletes often need to make decisions about career paths, education, and personal development as they transition from their athletic careers.
🔥PEAK PERFORMANCE STRATEGY: Lifelong Student-Athlete
Whether you seek a dream job or build dream jobs as a business owner, everything you’ll need to excel is already within you. You don’t need to transition from being a student-athlete. You just need to transition from playing the finite game of your specific sport to playing the infinite game of life.
It’s a crazy mind game to prepare to transition out of something while maintaining a competitive edge at it.
To have a mindset that it’s time for me to become a “professional” in the workplace and become an “adult” is the total opposite of the mindset you need to dominate when game time comes.
This is why so many student-athletes experience identity crises during their life after sports transition.
Embracing being a lifelong student-athlete is the remedy for this.
Whatever you decide to do; you’re most likely going to still prioritize creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and cooperation like a student. And you’ll still prioritize sleep, exercise, hydration, and nutrition like an athlete.
And the lifelong part of this includes stacking the skills of motivation, learning, creativity, and flow.
So instead of having a dilemma with a couple of choices, this will allow you to play the infinite game of life via peak performance, where your options to win will be limitless.
Hope this added the fuel to ferociously launch your week! ♾️🔥🚀
See you next Monday! 😎
And when it comes to the infinite game of life…
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