Vision without Execution

Rowden December 2020

Vision without execution is just hallucination or daydreaming.

It doesn't get you anywhere and this scenario applies not only to your sport but to your life. Your dreams and your talents are important but no long-term success occurs without a plan. Your talent may bring you to the attention of key people but you'll have to be able to answer the question - 'What's your plan'. A plan takes your dreams and talents and paves the way forward by bringing tangible structure to what is so far just a concept. But also it involves many varied aspects and it requires you to be able to work consistently on specific goals and details.
This applies particularly to young athletes. Even many adults don’t plan either their life or sport too well. Young people under the age of around twenty-six have an additional problem which few if any are aware of. The part of their brain which is used for mature, logical and sensible decision making, the prefrontal cortex, does not fully develop till this age. This is of course the reason why so many teenagers and young twenty year olds make such catastrophic and life altering decisions in their early years.
These kinds of actions occur with young animals too. Many of you who have spent time in the wilds will have seen young cubs playing in the sun outside the den while parents hunt for food, only to be quickly eaten by a passing predator. Some years ago there was the famous case of the elephants in the South African game reserve; young males were moved at too early an age from the situation of the discipline and nurture of the matriarchal society. As a result they misbehaved, killing nineteen white rhinos over three years in attempts to mate. Like children young elephants need discipline if they are to grow up as responsible members of society.
Let us detail a few key points about parenting and coaching, because these two endeavours are remarkably similar.
• If you don’t prepare your child/athlete for independence, who will?
• Parents/coaches lay the foundations for their child’s/athlete’s life and future.
• Your child/athlete is being influenced by someone or something all day and every day – are these influences the best ones to keep them on the right track?
• Too much responsibility will crush the child/athlete, too little will stunt their development and growth towards maturity.
• Discipline doesn’t restrict freedom, it ultimately creates it.
• It is crucial with the child/parent and athlete/coach relationship that it is a two way process. There should be teaching/learning and also listening.
• Life is short, don’t waste it.
For the great young talents to grow and mature and reach their highest potential there has to be focus and planning at every stage throughout their lives. Is the child selecting the best sport to suit his/her physical and mental qualities, is he/she attending the right school or club for ultimate progress, has he/she the right people around to support the journey and do they have the appropriate connections, does he/she live in the right area with the best opportunities, even is he/she representing the best country to realise full potential? It doesn’t take too much to derail the dream and to end up with just another good top athlete instead of a totally dominant World Champion!
Vision gives birth to the goal, sparks and fuels the fire to move you onward in spite of obstacles and odds; vision aids you to look beyond yourself and your abilities, encourages you to partner with those of like kind; vision doesn’t come from the void, it grows from past experiences and often goes far beyond you and your capabilities, including and meeting the needs of others; vision takes you beyond what you might normally accomplish and above all it attracts resources, draws like a magnet and rallies and unites people around you.

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