Pro Morgan Hackworth On Training Up the Next Generation

Hey there, I’m Morgan Hackworth, current professional athlete for the San Diego Loyal.

Like many elite athletes, my path to becoming a professional soccer player was challenging; filled with many moments of failure and self-doubt. In my sophomore year of college I wanted to walk away from soccer forever. After being in one of the darkest and most depressing times in my life, I thought to myself, “this can’t be it.” I then made the decision to not let that be the end of my career, but instead to give it everything I had in hopes of finding joy in soccer again.

I wouldn’t be going into my 5th year as a professional soccer player and living the life I had always dreamed of if I hadn’t made that decision. 

 

SOCCER RESILIENCE AMBASSADOR

In partnership with Soccer Resilience, I’ve been able to use my platform to coach the next generation in mental fitness. I’m grateful to be able to share my experiences with younger athletes that are going through similar struggles and help teach them techniques that build mental fitness and resilience through those tough times. Being an ambassador for Soccer Resilience has been one of the most rewarding and fulfilling decisions of my soccer career and life. And specifically, the one-on-one sessions have been a huge contributor to that fulfillment.

 

CONFIDENCE

Whenever one of the players I work with says, “confidence is how good we feel about ourselves,” I realize that I thought the exact same thing when I was their age. Together we reach the conclusion that confidence is not just how good we feel about ourselves, but your level of preparedness. When we discover breakthroughs like this in our mental fitness training it brings me a lot of joy to know that they are learning these important lessons at such a young age. My constant thought is, “If only I had understood this at your age!”

 

BRAIN’S NEGATIVE BIAS

I’ve noticed that a common struggle among my clients is learning to get over mistakes and not dwell on them. As a fifth-year professional, I am just starting to understand how to overcome my own mistakes. Fortunately, I’ve been able to understand the brain’s negative bias and realize it’s not a problem with ‘me’; it’s just how the brain works.

My clients take this lesson and begin to excel in their mental battles with negative thoughts. Having this conversation from the beginning and understanding that we all do this opens up a dialogue about mindfulness and allows us to be vulnerable. Then we can begin to develop techniques and tailor lessons on how to overcome negative thoughts. 

 

TAILORED APPROACH

As a coach of one-on-one mental fitness sessions, I have learned that every client responds differently to various mental fitness strategies and techniques. For some people, breathing techniques work better than resets for calming themselves down. Others find using resets more beneficial than breathing techniques.

But, whatever the favored techniques may be, just simply starting to practice one lesson and incorporating it into their everyday lives has proven to be immensely helpful for them on AND off the pitch!

I have seen first-hand how powerful and impactful one-on-one sessions can be. It is never too late, or too early, for someone to start practicing mindfulness!   

If I can help you or someone you may know, please reach out to me HERE!
by
Morgan Hackworth

 

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