6 Lessons of Being a Lifelong Athlete

Allison Tenney Athletics

I believe we are all athletes. Regardless if you have never actually put that label on yourself, we are all born with an innate ability to move our bodies. Maybe along the way, you have lost that ability, but it IS there, so we all have an inner athlete.

Most athletic careers follow a seemingly linear path; youth club, HS standout, college athlete, and for those elite enough, onto the pros. But by the time you graduate High School or College, that career is over. We cast aside our label of “athlete.” Why?

Here are lessons I learned from my athletic career. And what’s amazing is that I have learned most of these AFTER my soccer career “ended.”

1. The process is more important than the outcome.

I remember waaaaay more of the team practices and the individual time I spent training than I do the games. Don’t get me wrong, the games are the best. But the process of getting to those games, to prepare, to push myself, and to lean-in when all I wanted to do was go back to bed or take a nap or just give up… that’s where the growth happens. Those decisions have shaped my life.

2. Who you are and what you stand for are far more important than wins and loses.

Winning feels good, but it’s also fleeting. How you win and lose is more important. When you step onto the field, are you competing more with yourself or your opponent? Let that one marinate for a bit…

3. Developing GRIT takes patience, passion, and a stubborn will to improve.

There is a different between Grit and Work Ethic. When I think of work ethic, I think of someone working tirelessly. Work ethic is important, but Grit also requires that tireless pursuit of your passion. I have met a lot of athletes that didn’t even want to be playing their sport. Without passion, their god given talent has nowhere to truly be expressed.

4. Living in the moment is the best place to be.

It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to be present. You have to focus on the task at hand, never denying what has happened but staying in the moment beyond your own fear and self-doubt.

5. Putting the team first helps elevate the entire environment.

We all know that prima donna, drama queen. You want her on your team? Me either, thank you very much.

6. It has to be fun!

Because, duh.

Take any of these lessons and apply them to your own life; your family, work environment, or school. They still remain true. That’s what I love about being an athlete. Soccer just amplified these lessons for me into a very specific arena.  Kicking a ball now seems so secondary to everything else the game has given me.

As my athletic career continues to evolve, so do my takeaways. My body is getting older. My priorities are shifting. But the lessons remain the same. So while my training might look a little different, what I get out of that training still holds true.

I love being challenged and training my inner athlete. The Lightning & Thunder program aims at doing JUST that. It’s for ALL of us…the novice, intermediate, and elite athlete. Because we are ALL athletes, so why not train like one?!?