In the many conferences that I have given in schools and universities recently, one of the main traits that the students don´t seem to possess, and which has surprised me the most, is the ability to make decisions. The process of making a decision, in my opinion, consists of the following phases: analysis of the current situation, analysis of the decision to be adopted, study of the different alternatives – positive aspects, risks, people that will be involved in If this decision is taken, how long it would take to implement the decision and, if necessary, the economic cost. Finally, all of this information must be synthesised and the best choice made.
In sport, this decision-making process might, in many cases, mark the difference between success or failure. For example, signing or not signing for a club, when is the best time to make a change in my sports career, when is it the time to change my city, or my coach, should I enrol in a high performance centre, should I prioritize sport above other aspects of life and so on.
All these decisions, and many more that arise during a career in sport, are fundamental for the future of the athlete. Now, how can we ensure that we make as many RIGHT decisions as possible?
In my opinion, the answer is simple- starting from the very beginning, in our schools. An educational system in which children come to class, listen to the teacher, go home, do two hours of exercise (most of them mechanically), and study word-for-word for a test only to write it all down and forget the next day is, for me, an obsolete and useless educational system.
Teach the children how to analyse, make them understand, make them think, and make them proactive in their own education. Let us work on their capacity for analysis, empathy, emotional intelligence, the ability to synthesise and oral and written communication. Let’s work on that in classrooms while at the same time, teaching the content required by law. Let us start prioritizing values as important as those mentioned above, and we will achieve well-rounded, balanced adults with the ability to decide, to analyse, to think for themselves and to discern.
All these abilities, as I said before, will help that child focus on the activities he is involved in and will ensure that he has the capacity to face key moments in his life and make the right decision at the right time. Doing so will certainly put him at an advantage when it comes to achieving his goals in life.
How many sportsmen do we know that have spoiled their career by taking on the challenge of signing for a big team, of jumping at the chance to become a professional or to become a leading player in his team, only to discover that the decision was made too soon or at the wrong time?
Let us teach that, in today’s society, having the skills that I have mentioned above is fundamental. Let us help them build their future.