Student-athletes have all the answers…to questions in their narrow worldview.
Mentoring isn’t solely meant for finding or correcting answers, but for introducing new questions. Student-athletes benefit by gaining perspective beyond sports, the campus or current relationships. Sure, sometimes mentoring turns warm and fuzzy, and that has value as well. Balance is essential, and the 2 + 4 Rule can help.
The 2 – What a Mentor Must Represent
- Being An Outlet – Regardless of a student-athlete’s home or personal life, there’s always a chance they are unable to express their thoughts, emotions or beliefs.
- Listening Without Judgment – Making ears the student-athlete’s best friend. If they see you listening and not judging, then they’ll learn to do the same in their lives.
The 4 – What Makes the Mentoring Relationship Most Useful
- Honesty – Mentoring relationships are no different than others, trust is earned. This comes from truthfulness – diplomatic or direct based on need – on everyone’s part.
- Accessibility – Within guidelines and respect for other’s time, intervention or need may be required beyond allotted time. Be flexible, considerate and in compliance.
- Commitment – Agree to long-term engagement. It may take student-athletes time to open up. Reassure them the relationship will not end suddenly or without closure.
- Allowing Talk About Sports – It’s a positive, bright spot in their lives, so let them embrace it. Help keep sports in perspective and discuss how to leverage it’s qualities.