Online and face-to-face workshops on a range of important subjects have been delivered as part of LFE’s Personal Development programme this season.
Here, the four LFE Mentors discuss some key takeaways from the sessions.
Each session is an opportunity for the lads to understand who they are and how they can grow. They may well be competing in a team-based environment, but a career in sport is an individual journey, so it’s vital that we do not view their personal development as a one-size-fits-all solution.
There is a core focus on how personal development can support performance, well-being and transition, but my aim is always to help the lads identify ways they can be the best version of themselves in everything they do.
The lads have fully embraced the ideas we are looking to share with them and it’s clear, like anything in life, that the more they engage the more they get out of it.
I try to encourage them to see any obstacle as an opportunity to develop, so although in the current climate we are all dealing with significant challenges that we have never encountered before, there are also many lessons that can be learned that will undoubtedly shape their futures in a positive way.
The main point I’d like the apprentices to take is that you are more than a footballer. When you grasp that, then personal development helps, whether football is or isn’t your pathway.
When they start to have a different perspective on it, most of the lads start to make their own judgements and can see the magic in it.
We explore the stigmas and traditional perceptions that others have of what a young athlete should and shouldn’t be, as well as identifying the more modern ideas of how athletes should be perceiving themselves.
Subsequently, once we’ve developed knowledge in this area, it’s then about raising awareness of the opportunities for personal growth that are out there in the game and society.
We’re always challenging the question, ‘what is performance?’ There’s performance in the game, which is often at the forefront of their psyche and consciousness, but also performance in society, and we spend a lot of time explaining how they are linked and complementary.
That all comes from a foundation of self-awareness and the workshops provide a safe space for the lads to go on a journey of exploring their identity and understanding its importance.
The apprentices have more to offer than just being a football player. They’ve got so many skills from being in the position that they are and can transfer them into other areas.
They have to deal with pressure on a daily basis, they have to show great levels of respect, they have to work well in a team environment and they have a lot of self-motivation, determination and resilience to overcome adversity.
Having the belief to transfer them skills into other areas is so important for them to understand. They can do so many things off the pitch that can develop them and improve their characteristics and develop a broader identity.
That can give them a lot more security and confidence and provide opportunities away from the game, while also helping them on the pitch.
This piece features in Issue 41 of LFE’s Touchline magazine.