Athletes and The Pedestal Disorder

As a professional basketball player turned Coach, Business Owner and Public Speaker I am constantly helping people improve their skills in sports and in life. Thought and planning in life are required if you hope to be successful and happy.

A danger that all young athletes face is a peril I call "Pedestal Disorder or PD."

PD is the feeling of being put on a pedestal because you have excelled in some sports activity or any talent where you are honored and encouraged. People suggest that you could be in the Olympics or play professionally; a great dream. It feels good but it can cloud your judgment.

The danger of PD is that you then spend 100% of your time on achieving this single dream, skipping your education and not learning skills which might have allowed you to make a living outside of the dream.

Let's be realistic, less than 3% of the 11,000 athletes that compete in the Olympics will win a gold medal. How many more never make it? Your chances of becoming a professional sports player are heavily weighted against you.

Nowadays, you are competing against athletes from all over the world. If one-thousandth of the world's population are athletes, that is over 7 million people. Narrow this down to a specific sport and position and your odds are probably better at winning the "Mega-Millions".

Even with natural talent, finely honed skills and a squeaky clean personal life, luck has a huge influence on who actually makes it. While playing professional sports is a great dream, it is not something to bet your life and happiness on achieving, at least not without a good backup plan.

Smart athletes make realistic life decisions. While they work toward the dream, they use their educational opportunities to also build a career.

This career can replace the dream if necessary: in case of injury, being cut from the team, or deciding it wasn't all that much fun anyway. Smart athletes prepare for life without the dream. Smart athletes can see that the fall off a Pedestal can be a long, painful one if you have not already built a trampoline for yourself at the bottom.

It is fun feeling like you are on a pedestal, but don't let it sabotage your life. Build a backup plan.

At ATTACK Basketball Academy, I spend as much time coaching life readiness as I do basketball and wellness skills. I believe life skills are equally as important as court skills for success. Balancing my business, public speaking and personal life allows me to enjoy time with my lovely wife and two adorable children and be active in my community. And I always have a Plan B.

is the lead camp instructor for Breakthrough Basketball.

What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...


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Ruth Grant says:
10/19/2017 at 6:41:20 PM

Great points, thanks. Athletes and sometimes their parents seem to think that sport and education or learning are two different things. I like to use time on court to reinforce the point that those players who are doing well aren''t doing so just because of innate physical abilities. They''re excelling because they are good, and often, quick learners. If players can do this on court, then they can do this in formal education as well. I had one player whose parent explained to me that sport was ''his only chance to excel because he wasn''t academically ablel''. When it came to school work, his self-esteem was in his boots and he fulfilled everybody''s expectations that he couldn''t do well, refusing to engage and pretending that it didn''t matter. Well, after being praised for how well and how quickly he learned what we were teaching - and not just the physical side - he began to believe in his ability to succeed at learning, at whatever he chose to try. And soon he went from being the bottom of the class to suceeding academically. He learned through sport that education was important and that he was in control of what he learned, where he learned and how he learned. And now he has options - sport isn''t his only chance to excel in life, just one option amongst many.


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