Because I had been so lost in the wilderness of different roles and taking in everyone’s opinions and coaching points it took me a while to work out what they were again and who that player was. So, after a few days of thinking, I found that I was physically really strong in the gym, very competitive and would never give up – and had above-average speed and endurance. So they were my building blocks. I would say to myself, “OK Alex, put yourself in as many opportunities as you can to use your strength, endurance and power.” With a little fine-tuning of my footwork I started to get some really good results. Once i felt comfortable with that part of my game, I started to build on that. “How can I get in more opportunities to use my strengths?” I wanted that ball in my hands more, which led to me adding offensive confidence to my game. And as the weeks rolled by, I started accumulating evidence of the player that I wanted to be – and could be – just based off the simple strengths that I knew I had. But, remember, it took time and wasn’t an overnight fix.
So often, when you’re a young, hungry athlete, you want to please everyone – often at the detriment of your own mental health and game standard. I found that the key to me having success was being confident in the player and person I was, no matter the task or opinions thrown my way… easier said than done.
The things I want young players to learn from my own story include:
- Know what is your X factor – Something that no one can take away from you
and make that bulletproof. Even write this down as a constant reminder. This is what will make you great.
- Avoid analysis paralysis – Don’t try to be all things to all people. Find someone
whose opinion and knowledge you value over all else and work with them. Try to keep it a simple as possible.
- Start to snowball – slowly add other skills to your package to keep growing as
a player but always remember that, at your core is your X factor. Work on your weaknesses but work even harder at your strengths.
THEN… JUST BE YOU!
If I was always trying to be Andrew Embley or Anthony Koutoufides, I was always going to be second best – because they were the best versions of themselves. I had to want to be the best Alex Rance I could be. That was something I would always be best at.