Five Things I Learned About Being a College Athlete That Helped Me Succeed in Event Planning

student athlete, soccer
via Giphy

Moving from the soccer field to the office, I never expected the lessons I learned as a student athlete to apply to my internship. The skills that I developed on the field starting when I was first learning to play at age five or six have carried with me into my professional development in the workforce. Here are the top five takeaways from my time as a student athlete that have helped me the most professionally.

1. Teamwork and Communication

The more you communicate with your teammates on the field, the more success you have and the better you operate together. The same can be said for working in event planning. You are constantly communicating with your team and bouncing ideas off each other. Effective communication is critical to ensuring that everyone is operating under the same assumptions and that all team members understand the information in the same way. 

teamwork, working in teams, student athlete

2. “Expect the Unexpected”

In soccer, you need to outthink your opponent.  In event planning, you need to think of the unthinkable. Event management happens in a very fast-paced environment and things don’t always go as planned. Whether a client changes their mind about the event theme or location in the last second or the weather for your outdoor event takes a turn for the worst (If you live in New England or Boston you know this is especially true), you need to have a backup plan in place and be able to execute it as smoothly as possible. For soccer, there are a variety of plays for everything that our team goes over in practice, so once you get to the field, you have multiple options in the game. This idea is very similar to how we operate at an event and that is why it is so important to have contingency plans in place.

3. Strategy

When you’re dribbling down the field in soccer, you need to have a plan of attack, a game strategy. This game plan must change and adapt depending on who you are up against in order to achieve the best results. Strategy is also extremely important as you plan an event, and Castle’s strategy may differ depending on the type of event and each client’s specific needs and expectations. At Castle, we have regular interactions with our clients to properly strategize the “plan of attack” for the event.

strategy, event plan strategy

4. Patience

In soccer, the phrase “Don’t dive in” is one we often refer to. It means to have patience and wait until the opportunity is right. With event management, we do, however, often dive in, but it takes patience and careful planning to ensure that we get every element right.  We are often planning events years out, so patience is critical as we move toward these events.  

5. Ability to take Criticism

Every athlete knows that at some point, making a mistake is inevitable.  Understanding and responding appropriately to constructive criticism when that happens is a key factor in success in both athletics and in a professional career. Without the ability to accept constructive criticism when it is given, you can truly limit your growth.

 Finally, there is nothing more important than playing with your heart, and when things get tough – on and off the field – remember that your team is there to help you through any challenge you may face!

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