Ted Talk Ryan Romano

The One Secret Every High School Athlete Must Know

What a wild world of sports we live in today! I remember growing up trying out so many different sports. Even playing multiple sports during the same season of the year such as I would play Rec basketball and at the same time I was in wrestling season. I was encouraged to draw some clarity on what my favorite activities were.

This even went beyond sports. I was a tap dancer in the first grade, boy scouts for a couple years and took a couple art classes outside of school. We were encouraged to use our imagination like building tree houses in the woods or skate/bike ramps, which is probably why I am not in construction today…

Nowadays it seems like everything is the complete opposite and it’s plaguing the minds of so many kids especially high school athletes.

If I could give one piece of advice to high school kids it would be to get clear on what you want. Clarity is powerful!

Let’s be very clear that this does not mean that you have to have your life all figured out. Nor does it mean that you will have all the answers. But it does mean that you should be able to have a conversation about what your interests are well beyond sports!

Last week while in the gym and spending some time at home with several high school kids I began to take a deeper look into this concept…

Talking With High Schoolers

When I was having conversations with multiple kids there was this common theme about a lack of clarity on life, sports or the direction they would begin searching for answers…

As you ask them questions about what they wanted. It could have been about sports goals or the majority of them; it was about what they were interested in as a career. There were lots of hesitations and confusion!

It’s time we, especially in the sports industry, help these kids draw more clarity on their life!

One piece of advice I always tell kids that come through the gym doors, especially high schoolers is to start trying everything, to see what you have an interest in and what you dislike.

Between coaches, teachers and parents have stolen away our kids’ imagination! We tell them things like to “be realistic” or “you have to be really smart for that”…

It’s the same concept of what we see in sports today. We are forcing kids to specialize in sports at an early age because we think that it’s going to give them a competitive edge. But the reality is that it’s probably doing the exact opposite…

I agree there are outliers like a Tiger Woods who started playing golf at age 2 and achieved massive success. But the statistics would say that you child is better off participating in multiple sports!


Imagination Beyond Sports

Just like we are forcing kids into specific sports, we are making them choose careers without any type of actual knowledge or understanding on what they like and dislike. Coaches, parents and universities force you to pick a major with basically zero practical teaching on what any career will resemble.

We will not go down the rabbit hole on “formal education” and the lack of setting kids up for their future. But there needs to be a more hands on approach.

These kids MUST get out and try as many different career options as possible at an early age. They should be encouraged to intern or work for as many different jobs growing up as possible. Those early internships and work experience will give them a true understanding of those careers. NOT by sitting in a classroom and thinking “wow this seems fun, I will try this for the rest of my life.”

I have seen it dozens of times. People I know or their friends that feel trapped within their careers because they chose to specialize in college. Meaning they chose something like becoming a lawyer or doctor. Then after law/med school they have spent so much time, energy and money to get to that career they feel they must do it for the rest of their life…

They find themselves saying things like “it’s too late to change a career” Society has forced this entrapment into their career and they spend decades miserable! Why, because they had little true understanding on what their life would be like.

Drawing Clarity 

It’s like we have hardwired this belief into our kids minds. Coaches, schools or parents do not have bad intentions. Actually it usually stems from parents wanting their kids to excel but it’s having the reverse effects…

If there is something we must all encourage kids across the globe is for them to draw more clarity about what THEY desire within their lives. Adults are scratching their heads as to why kids are confused more than ever before, but the adults are a large part of the cause!

Adults forget about the impact they have on their kids and others by their words and actions.

It’s not worth the lifelong impact and hardwired belief you are teaching your kids to force them into anything! 

We ALL were created to live the lives that WE desire! The lives that WE choose to live. There is not some unwritten age where it says that “Phew now we can choose what we want”

The reality is kids have more clarity on what they crave early on because they have not been brainwashed from society. Falling into the trap of living the life society chooses for us!

Encourage Life Experience

Encourage imagination! Ask questions to help kids draw further clarity about their life and if they do not know. Maybe it’s time we allow them to just try that activity or career. If kids are interested in a sport and it’s during the same season as the one you want them to play, it’s ok to let them try it out.

When I played basketball and wrestled, I only made about 2-3 basketball games per year. I made all the practices and enjoyed my experience.

If they wanna be a business owner, find one to shadow for a week or month. They wanna work on cars and find a way to get them around an autoshop.

It’s time we end shutting down kids’ life experiences and encourage clarity! Clarity is powerful and the easiest way to find clarity is through experience! Words do not teach, experience teaches!


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