In order to plan an expedition, it’s necessary to know the point of departure. It’s the same for your advancement as a person and as a professional footballer. At the very beginning of our work with you, we will conduct a detailed initial analysis with you so that together we can create a vision of where your career path should lead you. After we have identified both - the point of departure and your ultimate career goal - we can design the right strategy and define individual steps along the way. This approach offers the opportunity to analyse the developmental steps you take and adapt your training plans accordingly. This enables for precision planning of stages in your career which fit your long-term strategy, so that you can make the right decisions at the right time for you. A career very rarely just happens. It needs planning, discipline, self-reflection and, above all, patience.
The more time we spend with successful athletes, the clearer it becomes that sporting talent often isn’t the decisive factor which separates victory from defeat, success from failure. What is more decisive is the personal attitude and mental capacity to cope with all of the challenges of elite sport. For this reason we place mindset at the centre of our work with you. Barriers, unhelpful patterns of thought or belief need to be identified through intensive, supportive discussions with you, so that together we can resolve them. The rigid thinking which often characterises the world of football, often throws up barriers and obstacles for individuals to negotiate. Only those with a firm mindset, who understand their own motives, can have the confidence to successfully pursue the path they have chosen.
To help you on the journey towards realising your personal goals we will work with you on your mental strength and your belief in yourself and your abilities. The conviction that you are giving everything you’ve got, to achieve the best possible outcomes for yourself, your team and everyone around you, will be the key to your success. How will you become the person, the player you want to be and indeed, can be? How do you manage to mature into the person you have to be in order not just to reach the highest level, but to be totally, undeniably at the top? Which scientific methods, which tried-and-tested strategies for personal development can we deploy for you? The insights we have gained form the basis of our entire strategy to be the lighthouse to your journey.
Alongside the strengthening of physical and mental capacity, it is of course also essential for an athlete to continue to progress and improve in their chosen sport. The first step is to create a precise picture of you as a player, to know where your particular strengths lie and to understand how you can use them in competition. Depending on the position you play and your specific abilities, it’s important to learn technical and tactical skills and to continually refine them. As well as the skills you bring to your position in the team, international football also increasingly demands individuality and creativity. Most developmental set-ups allow too little time or space for individual growth of this kind. But for you to perform in the best way possible (so that you can call upon your abilities, skills and talent automatically whenever necessary) you need to have a lot of practice. We make sure you don’t miss out through specially tailored individual training units which can be conducted outside of team sessions. Only in this way the necessary amount of practice and intensity of training load can be guaranteed. It will enable you to optimise your development potential.
Our focus is on learning and understanding. We seek to broaden the horizons of your knowledge and to offer you sustainable, long-term approaches to dealing with the often sensitive issues which arise in a professional athlete’s life, issues which people are sadly all too often reluctant to talk about. Professionalism for us is helping you to develop into a responsible, mature person. You will access help, for example from players’ agents, but will be equipped to know what is best for you, and to make independent decisions accordingly. It is important for you to have partners in all contractual negotiations who will make your personal interests their highest priority.
Lighthouse can call upon years of experience in the business side of football to be able to act as a signpost to reputable experts in the field. Professional football carries significant health risks. Even the best fitness and preparation cannot entirely guarantee against injury or periods of time spent out of contract. Therefore, these issues have to have been thought about, discussed and catered for in good time. This is another area where Lighthouse can cater for your specific needs, offering tried and tested solutions.
An essential component of consistent top-level achievement in international professional football is a corresponding lifestyle – one which is appropriate for elite sporting performance, which places the emphasis on individual responsibility. Building technical ability, fitness and the ability to accomplish under pressure, are all part of the beginning: maintaining and continuously improving these things over the long term is the great challenge. To do that, understanding and awareness of how your body works and maintaining a disciplined lifestyle away from the football pitch are all essential. We conduct regular tests to analyse your physical development in specific, relevant areas and use the data we collect, to adapt your training, recovery and nutrition plans on an ongoing basis. Paul was one of the first footballers to engage fully with these ideas in his career, consulting extensively with internationally renowned experts in the field, gaining valuable experience. In combination with the insights of the experts we employ, we feed these ideas into the work we do with you on a daily basis. This enables us to raise the bar of performance, clearly and for the long term.
The decision to embark on a career in professional sport isn’t just life-changing for yourself. Your family and friends have to come to terms with the fact that life is about to radically change. Lighthouse – Partners for Life can call on a range of relevant personal experiences, from Premier League player to player’s wife, to parents of a young professional, to managing a professional football club in Austria. The relatively small world which a professional athlete moves in, is a subject which is all too often given very little attention, even though it is clear that what goes on in this small world can have massive influence on an athlete’s performance. For this reason, we will strive to involve your most trusted circle of family and friends in your career from the beginning. We will do our best to design a personalised strategy to create a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Becoming a professional athlete means that you are volunteering for a life in the public eye. It is important for you to learn about what it means to communicate through and about the media, and that you become aware of the effect all this can have on your own life. Modern channels of communication can be used to help your career, if you use them well, but it’s imperative to learn how to manage them. We will introduce you to the skills needed for this, and we will share our experience with you. Depending on your career progress, it will become necessary to work with our media experts, in order to create an authentic “brand” for yourself, which you can learn to exploit for your own benefit. It’s no secret that today’s big-money transfers happen not just because of the players’ abilities on the pitch, but also due to the way they are marketed.