The higher you go in the athletic world, the more of an athlete network that you develop. That athlete network can be used to set up a great life but too many athletes way too long to take advantage of it. The best time to take advantage of it is when you are still relevant.
If you wait too long people begin to forget about you and you no longer have the same pull that you once used too. The downside of being an athlete is you build so much confidence over the years that you think it will last forever until the day it is gone. We are going to go over the power of the athlete network, why athletes miss out on it and tips to take advantage of it.
The Power of The Athlete Network
If you make it to the level where you are a college athlete, for example, your athlete network is massive by that point. You have usually been playing sports anywhere from 4-15 years at that point and many so many different contacts its hard to keep in touch.
The Different Contacts Include:
- Players on other teams
- Opposing Coaches
- Opposing Parents
- Medical staff
- Journalists and other media personnel
When you look back on your entire athletic career, think about if you stayed in touch with every one of these people throughout the years that you have met? The lists would be massive. There is so much power in this network because if you were a class actor and had skill chances are many of these people remember you as you remember them.
The athlete network is powerful because if you tap into it while you are still relevant people will be more willing to helo you eve if you were rivals. The mutual respect is there, and they want to be able to stay in touch with you because you are doing big things yourself.
The athlete network starts to spread further an further because people change careers. Athlete retire, coaches change teams or even careers, and parents get promotions into who knows what. There is so much power in the athlete network.
Why Athletes Miss Out On Their Athlete Network
Athletes miss out on their athlete network for two main reasons. The first being that they think they will be great athletes forever. Many athletes never put much consideration into what they will do when sports are all said and done.
Many athletes also miscalculate the celebrity status that being an athlete can bring. People will not care about your life as much as when you retire. Take someone like Michael Jordan who is easily one of the most famous athletes ever. When he retired, he became a bit more irrelevant and as time goes on his legacy fades more and more. That is a guy who was at the top of the top and even he took a tumble.
Chances are you that you are not as famous as MJ so it will not take long for people to forget you or your contribution. When I retired from Iowa State as an All-American and an Olympian, it took maybe two years to be forgotten entirely. You don’t think it will happen to you, but it does. When the celebrity dies, people are not as willing to connect and help out. Your athlete network goes down in value with each passing day unless you find ways to stay relevant.
Tips to Take Advantage of Your Athlete Network
It does not matter if you are in high school or if you have been retired for a few years, it is never too late to reach out. Your athlete network is not going to build itself; you have to do that work. The earlier you start, the better because with each passing day you lose a bit of its power. Another thing to think about is that as you become more irrelevant, so do others athletes in your network. They have less pull as they go on as well.
Make a Habit of Staying in Touch to Take Advantage of The Athletic Network
Everyone has their system, but today with all the communication mediums we have like social media, Skype, Facetime, texting, there is no reason to not stay in touch. There are many ways you can go about this, but it is all about making sure you know the essential things.
- How can you serve them?
- What do they need help with?
- Make sure they know what you are working towards
- Keep up with the details of their life
The reason you want to focus more on them to yourself is that the key is to give before you make any asks. Give more to people and help them get what they want in life and they will help you get what you want. The only way you can help people is to know what they are gunning for in the first place.
The other thing about building a network is that it is not a negative thing when you have a give first attitude. The way you approach it is you could be giving and helping others for the next ten years before you ever ask anyone for any help. That is solid networking!
Know What Your Next Step is to Use Your Athlete Network
It is essential that you know what your end goal is with your life. For example, let’s say after you are done school you want to go to med school and become a doctor. It is vital that you take note of any people in your network who have family that are in medicine. If you don’t know what you want, you won’t even know what to look for. It becomes hard to build a helpful athlete network when you don’t know what you also want from life yourself.