What legacy are you leaving behind as a soccer player?
How do you want to be remembered as an athlete?
An athletic legacy is your imprint on your teammates, coaches, opponents, and those important people around you.
You probably have a teammate who has been described as a slacker.
Whenever you think of that teammate, you remember moments when they didn’t push themselves in training, stood off to the side with a sore muscle, or didn’t show up for practice. Those players are often labeled “lazy” or “unmotivated.”
You shape your legacy over the course of your career. The good news is that you can start reshaping your legacy with introspection and conscious effort.
The first step is to decide how you want others to remember you. Do you want to be viewed as an athlete who is a:
- Hard worker or slacker?
- Strong leader or divisive teammate?
- Motivator or complainer?
- Challenge seeker or someone who took the easy road?
- Mentally tough competitor or mentally weak?
- Someone who never gave up or someone who backed down from adversity?
The second step is to identify a few keywords as an overall guiding principle, such as “hard worker” or “stubbornly determined.”
The next step is to think of the narrative you want to create. When your teammates talk about your legacy, how do you want them to describe you?
Imagine them telling other athletes about you, “There was this guy on my team who busted his butt in training. He never gave up, no matter if he won or lost.”
The final step is to align your actions with your desired legacy. This step emphasizes that you, not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk.
Are you living your legacy? How should you act, train, practice, carry yourself, compete, and handle adversity?
Alyssa Naeher is a goalkeeper for the USWNT and an 11-year veteran of the NWSL. Throughout her career, Naeher carefully shaped a legacy that will be a positive example for future professional and national players.
NAEHER: “My responsibility is to continue to train hard every single day, continue to set a high standard, and show this next generation of goalkeepers what it takes to be on the national team and what it takes to — every single day, commitment to training, commitment to preparation.”
You are the only person who impacts your legacy. You are in control of your legacy. In other words, what happens to you is not as important as how you respond to those circumstances.
You build your legacy by doing the right things one day at a time, one practice at a time, and one competition at a time.
Thinking of your legacy will fuel your motivation and help you maximize your potential.
Tip for Building a Positive Legacy
Decide what legacy you want to create. Spend 5 minutes daily visualizing yourself living your legacy.
Summarize and write your legacy goal in a few keywords and post it in a place you will see daily.
Remember that you are the only one in control of your legacy, so aligning your actions with your vision is crucial.
Resources for Athletes, Coach, and Sports Parents
- Learn more about Soccer Psychology Tips and Strategies
- Download our a FREE Mental Toughness Report
- Read our Sports Psychology Articles
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- Subscribe to The Sports Psychology Podcast on iTunes
- Subscribe to The Sports Psychology Podcast on Spotify
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