As part of the IOC Athlete Career programme, the IOC provides many resources for athletes. Discover some handy hints and tips to give you useful advice on subjects such as time management, media relations and many more.


Time Management Skills

Time management skills are essential skills for effective elite athletes. Athletes who master these techniques routinely are the highest achievers, even those under intense pressure, in all walks of life, from sport to business. Firstly, it is important to identify and concentrate on the things that matter most. This ensures that you achieve the greatest benefit possible with the limited amount of time available to you.

1. To start managing your time effectively, you need to set goals. When you know where you´re going, you can then figure out what exactly needs to be done, in what order. Without proper goal-setting, you will not make the most of your time and will be faced with conflicting priorities.

2. Prioritising what needs to be done is especially important. Without it, you may work very hard, but you won’t be achieving the results you desire because what you are working on is not of real importance.

3. Knowing what to do to minimise the interruptions is very important. Most athletes have a “to-do” list of some sort. The problem with many of these lists is that they are just a collection of things that need to get done. There is no rhyme or reason to the list and, because of this, the work accomplished is just as unstructured. So how do you work on To Do List tasks – top down, bottom up, easiest to hardest? To work efficiently you need to work on the most important, highest value tasks. This way you won’t get caught scrambling to get something critical done as the deadline approaches.


Organising Your Study Time

It is important to plan and prepare for dealing with study commitments which clash with sporting competitions as early as possible. As an elite athlete, you need to plan ahead and build relationships with all the people who may able to assist you. This may include your coach, team manager, teacher, lecturer or family and friends, particularly in times of competition and travel for competitions during the term or semester.

Summarise topics at the end of each module, topic or chapter. This will help you to think clearly about the information and gain a better understanding of the concepts involved.

2. Read actively. Most of your reading should include some additional action like taking notes, underlining or highlighting.

3. Practise drawing diagrams. The more visual something is the more effective a learning tool it will be.

4. Say things aloud. Pretend you are a teacher and explain the material to a class. Talk to people about what you are studying. Each time you go over material you are helping to place information in your long-term memory.

5. Make definition and formula cards. Put the term on one side of a small card and its definition on another. This process can also be helpful for learning vocabulary.


Setting Goals

One thing you are good at but do not necessarily know, is setting goals. As an athlete you do this all the time with your sports programme. You have probably heard of “SMART goals”. But do you always apply the rule? The simple fact is that for any goal to be achieved it must be designed to be SMART, whether in sport or in life in general. There are many variations on what SMART stands for, but the essence is this:

S = Specfic
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Relevant
T = Time

1. Set Specific Goals. Your goals must be clear and well defined. You must understand what you wish to achieve. Vague or generalised goals are not achievable because they don´t provide sufficient direction. Remember, you need goals to show you the way.

2. Set Measurable Goals. Include precise amounts, dates, etc. in your goals so you can measure your degree of success. Without a way to measure your success you miss out on the celebration that comes with knowing you actually achieved something.

3. Set Attainable Goals. Make sure that it´s possible to achieve the goals you set. If you set a goal that you have no hope of achieving, you will only demoralise yourself and erode your confidence. However, resist the urge to set goals that are too easy. By setting realistic yet challenging goals you hit the balance you need. These are the types of goals that require you to “raise the bar” and they bring the greatest personal satisfaction.

4. Set Relevant Goals. Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take. By keeping goals aligned with this, you´ll develop the focus you need to get ahead and do what you want.

5. Set Time. Your goals must have a deadline. This again, is so that you know when to celebrate your success. When you are working on a deadline, your sense of urgency increases and achievement will come that much quicker.


Dealing with the media

The following information on dealing with the media is designed to help you organise yourself to present to the media. It also includes tips on developing plans, organising your thoughts and presenting “the best of you”!

When dealing with the media, always prepare for interviews. No matter what the circumstances and situation, it is always possible to prepare for an interview. This may require practice, so when you finish a competition or race and someone from the media asks for an interview, you are ready. The following points provide a basic guide for you to work on:

1. Who do you want to reach?
2. What do they know or think?
3. What impression do you want to leave?
4. How do you convey credibility?
5. What are the likely questions?


All information is taken from the IOC website. For a full list of all of the IOC fact sheets visit the IOC Athlete’s Space website:

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