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Do You Have Feelings Of Doubt In Becoming A Professional Athlete?

Do you feel confused, scared or indecisive about your sport becoming your job?

Are you questioning your potential as a professional athlete?

Do you want the athlete life?

Do you want to try something else?

Do you need a break?

All of these questions are completely normal to have so don’t panic! We’ve all been there, at least I know I have…

Feelings of self-doubt, insecurity and questions starting with “What if?” have been on my mind for the past two years as a professional athlete. At first, I felt guilty and ashamed of feeling like that because I was competing for my school, Florida International University, and also for my country, Guatemala. And I felt like I had to be strong and 100% sure on the idea of being and becoming a professional athlete.

But then, after going through some really tough times in season, I realized that it was okay to feel that way and still is! Instead of ignoring those feelings, I decided to accept them and analyze why I was feeling that way, and what could I do to make me feel confident and happy again.

Even though I managed to feel better and more confident through the rest of my eligibility years at FIU and tournaments for Guatemala, right now, I do feel stuck and confused in who I want to be and what I want to do. I figured it is normal to feel confusion at this point in my life and decided that there was nothing wrong in thinking about other opportunities and desires that would make me happy besides beach volleyball.

It is very scary to leave something you love so much and have been doing all your life to try something new

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I’m thinking about quitting volleyball because I don’t believe or feel confident enough in myself on becoming a professional player. I’m a strong believer in that you can pursue and achieve anything you want if you put your heart, mind and dedication into it. However, there are other things in life that I would like to try or give it a chance because they also make me happy. Not going to lie, it is very scary to leave something you love so much and have been doing all your life to try something new, it is definitely a challenge.

The thing is that I feel that if I want to become a professional beach volleyball player and try to get all the way to the Olympics in 2020 and 2024, I will definitely need to be 110% dedicated ONLY to my sport, sacrifice a lot of things like friends and family and also opportunities that have come my way through school and work. It sounds radical and maybe over the top, but that’s the way I would do it to become the best I can be, no distractions, only focusing on my training both physically and mentally.

Taking a break from your sport is not wrong, in fact, it may help you to not get burned out

You may be thinking how do I know this if I haven’t even tried? But I have, for the past 5 years I’ve dedicated my life to volleyball only; yes, there is school as well but I’ve always put volleyball first. In fact, the years before going to college, I spent them training, traveling and playing all over the world with my teammate and coach. It was AMAZING, great experiences and unforgettable moments, but it was also very exhausting. I had to leave my family and friends for a really long time and missed a lot of events with them, also left most of my hobbies and other desires behind. Then, when I got into college with my scholarship, I did it again, I committed to beach volleyball only and definitely got way better as a player and gained a lot of experience. Another thing I want to stress out is that taking a break from your sport is not wrong, in fact, it may help you to not get burned out from it and ultimately help you to find yourself. I guarantee you that by finding yourself and understanding that you are not your sport but more of a PERSON that does a sport with a lot more strengths and abilities will help you grow and play much freer.

I’m not going to end this by saying that dedicating yourself to your sport isn’t worth it because IT IS! Neither by saying I’ll quit my sport, but more so by letting all those confused athletes know that IT IS OKAY to feel that way, and IT IS OKAY to like other things other than just your sport!

I encourage you to try and experience all those things you are interested in, give them a try and see if you really like them! Every athlete needs a break sometimes, it will allow you to realize that you are not defined only by your sport and that given the opportunity of other pursuits, you may be surprised for all the other things that also can bring you joy! Or it may simply be the necessary break you need in order to realize you DO want to be a professional athlete.

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