“What makes you think it won’t work without trying? Isn’t it unfair?”
There’s a saying that goes, “Hard work pays off. In order to achieve their dreams, athletes must overcome setbacks and adversity. It’s inevitable. In a way, it’s a given. We’ve never seen an athlete achieve their dreams without going through this process. But times have changed. Nowadays, student-athletes are more easily shaken by hardships and difficulties. They”re less able to solve problems than they used to be. In some cases, they give up on their dreams easily. The worst part is that they don”t realize that this process is essential for their growth.
The struggles and difficulties that student athletes face are more varied than you might think. Improvement (late development, performance), fitting in with the team (hard training, training camps, competition), relationships with teammates (leaders, teammates), physical condition (height, speed), injuries (long absences, frequent injuries), advancement (opportunities, choices), and worrying about the future (success). They even come up when you least expect them. As a result, there are quite a few student-athletes who seek counseling. Most of them are unable to face the reality of their unfavorable situation and are more focused on their emotions. They may even end up quitting soccer by accident.
In order for a student athlete to overcome hardships and difficulties, they must first endure them. In other words, enduring is the way to win. Most student-athletes are not familiar with the strategy of perseverance (Byung-Jun Kim, 2015). It’s not as difficult as you might think. The key is to leave the outcome to the heavens and focus on what you need to do. Not getting impatient and having a positive belief in yourself is also an example of a perseverance strategy, which means thinking and doing the smartest thing in the moment because you can”t control the outcome. You can only solve problems by persevering. Athletes who are good at persevering know that if they can get over the hump, they can get to the good stuff.
Student-athletes who are not good at persevering have a lot of negative energy. For example, they often make negative predictions about future outcomes or blame others for the outcome. They also have a strong desire to get out of their bad situations quickly. Their biggest regret in counseling is that they forget for a moment that what they do best is soccer and that it makes them feel happy. Water in a kettle needs to reach 100 degrees to boil. It will never boil at 99 degrees. There are a lot of people who can’t stand water at 99 degrees. What’s worse is that it’s often the smallest, most insignificant things that keep them from doing so.
When I think of endurance, there is a player who comes to mind. Joo Hyun-seong (Seoul E) is currently in his third year of professional play. He’s still going strong in the pros. In his college days, Joo faced a major setback that made him want to quit soccer. Fortunately, he was smart enough to call it quits. If he had quit soccer at that point, he doesn’t think he would have become the krigger he is today. I hope that student-athletes in various sports can gain hope and courage through Joo’s real-life story.
The story goes back to February 2019, when Joo was a student at Yongin University. “I need your help. Our Hyun Sung is having a hard time mentally right now, and I think he might quit playing soccer.” The urgency in Joo’s mother’s voice was palpable. At the time, the player was participating in a collegiate singles tournament, so the counseling session would have to wait until after the tournament was over. I met him near Yongsan Station on a weekend night after midnight. We had to meet at his mother’s veterinary clinic because the venue was unavailable. I remember it was over 10pm at the time. His grass was dead and he was exhausted. “Do you think it won’t work, don’t you think it’s unfair, let’s start again?” This is how our relationship began.
At the time, Zhu was facing various challenges. For example, she was competing for a starting spot with a first-year player during winter training. He was experiencing high stress and anxiety. The pressure of competing for a starting spot led to frequent mistakes and decreased confidence. She didn’t perform as well as expected in the single collegiate event she participated in after winter training. The team’s performance was also poor. “I didn’t want to play soccer, I knew I wasn’t good enough, and I didn’t see a future,” he said. I realized that he was blaming himself for his difficulties, and I thought I could help him get back on his feet by showing him how to hang in there.
Every Sunday morning, I spent time with Zhu. We counseled at a cafe in Yongshan and shared psychological skills strategies. As we spent more time together, our relationship naturally improved. His expression brightened and he expressed his feelings more openly. The problem was not solved. Her impatience grew. “I want you to go so slow that I wonder if it’s okay to go this slow.” I pressed him on his impatience every time he expressed it. At the time, Joo was a sophomore in college and needed to find a job. I thought it might be difficult for him to recover if he collapsed again. I had to do something to mold his mind and heart.
Joo persevered until the end. He didn’t show any signs of tiredness, even though he had to train hard during the week and play in U-League matches. He started to memorize the psychological strategies he had learned and put in a lot of effort to master them. I later learned that once the session was over, he would go through his usual routine of training in the afternoon. Before falling asleep, he would write down his feelings in a notebook to keep himself grounded. They met in the cold spring and the leaves were falling. “Teacher, I’m having so much fun playing soccer these days, and I want to get better at it,” Zhu said. The goal became clearer and the motivation level increased. He no longer wavered, and he made his own judgments and decisions, navigating through the darkness.레고토토
By junior year. Zhu was coming into her own. Her confidence grew as her level of preparation for competitions increased. The psychological difficulties associated with competitions were controlled through psychotechnical strategies. His performance naturally stabilized. At the same time, the athlete’s development accelerated. Steady performance leads to employment At the end of the season, he joined Seoul Eland. In 2021, he was called up to the men’s U23 national team. “It was very hard at the time, but I think it was exactly what I needed,” says Joo. Zhu still has one more round of counseling to go. Hopefully, he’ll never have to ask for counseling.
Student-athletes need to know that they can achieve their dreams by persevering. When you face hardships and challenges, you need to be smart with your coping strategies. Remember, perseverance is the key to solving problems and getting closer to your dreams. We also hope that the examples of these athletes will serve as positive inspiration for student-athletes.