Mentors change lives. It’s that simple. If you have someone who can share their guidance and football experience with you as you grow, you can learn an amazing amount and avoid making the same mistakes they did. It’s no coincidence why so many top-level athletes usually have fathers/mothers or family members that were athletes themselves. However, most people are not that lucky, so how do you find one?
For instance, I come from a family that care about their health and general fitness, but I’m the only one in my entire family (including cousins, uncles) who has a real passion for football. Growing up, it was great to have my Dad come and watch my games, but you don’t tend to rely on feedback from someone who doesn’t (and still doesn’t) fully understand how offside works.
As football became a more serious in my life, I searched for soccer trainers and mentors. The way I built a relationship with my mentor John Moses was pretty straight forward. Moses was a coach at my football club in Hungary. I first liked him as a person because he was a pretty genuine, humble guy. When you like someone, it’s easy to ask questions and share your insecurities, so I always asked him for some tips and advice on playing. We did extra training sessions together and a few years later, he was the guy who helped me get a trial and an offer to play professionally.
You might think it’s annoying to keep asking someone for advice. The truth is, if you are a decent person and you tell another decent person what your dreams and goals are, naturally they will want to help you succeed. If you have someone that you’d like to have as your mentor. Tell them that you think they are someone with smarts and knowledge, and you’d appreciate getting their advice and feedback from time to time. But don’t ever ask a stranger.
Instead, look for mentors that you already know or are interacting with in your community. These are people who have seen you train/play and know how you think and act. They also have to believe and trust in you.
Mentors are accessible to everyone, so don’t hesitate. If you are in a tricky situation or you have a problem you want to sort out. Always seek advice, because chances are, your mentor has been or has known someone in the same position as you are now.
Nick Humphries, 25, is a footballer who played in England (Wimbledon), Scotland (Montrose), Holland (Volendam), Hungary (Vasas) as well as with the Australian U20 national team. At 16 years of age, he was just an average amateur player with limited skills. Only one year later he was offered $120k+ in scholarships. Two years later he received a contract to play professionally in Europe. How did he get better? He trained in his own way! Learn more about the training program he’s creating to help players improve on their own terms.