COVID has presented unique challenges for many over the last 18 months, especially those waiting to compete on the world’s biggest sporting events which were postponed during the pandemic.

Although disappointing, the extra time provided some athletes with opportunities to remain both physically and mentally fit in ways they hadn’t considered before. OSTC’s LMS educational program is just one such outlet, delivering training opportunities in the world of financial trading, so athletes can prosper beyond the world of sport.

Using the ZISHI trading platform, 500 free trader experience places were granted to athletes. The course is the same as is used for junior traders at OSTC, and is tested and proven to provide valuable skills in the markets. It helps learners understand how financial markets work, what impacts stock market prices with education upon interest rates, and how foreign exchange markets operate.

With athletes having to maintain their physical and emotional health across this time of uncertainty, the opportunity to exercise these core assets through educational learning has had a positive and reassuring impact.

We caught up with British Paralympian and OSTC Brand Ambassador, Ashley Facey-Thompson to gain insights into how developing trading skills through LMS has helped him grow key psychological traits for sporting success.

“Lockdown was a challenge for everyone,” said Ashley. “I was living alone and had to accept it straight away. It was hard, but I had to show self-discipline and drive, for my own sanity. I learnt to be alone and be happy and content with myself during challenging times.”

“The ZISHI portal helped me significantly during the start of lockdown,” he added. “It gave me insight into the working world and thoughts about life after table tennis. To be honest, I found it hard, but I still gave it a go and for sure it’s something I will think about in the future. It’s also very interesting and a little insight into what OSTC do.”

Physical preparation

The 500 free LMS trader experience places offered to athletes represents a great opportunity to a deserving group, but it also offered them a challenge.

The training schedules to compete in global sporting events are highly demanding, and COVID added further hurdles to overcome. With many training facilities being closed for long periods, athletes had to remain self-motivated and discover new ways to adhere to their usual physical training sessions. While restrictions did ease and lockdown measures gradually lift, there was still a need for athletes to adapt in exceedingly difficult circumstances.

This ability, alongside the discipline and resilience these athletes possess, makes them ideal candidates to succeed in a sector as challenging as trading. On the prospect of balancing these careers, Ashley Facey-Thompson said:

“I have been an elite athlete for 11-12 years now, I am 25 but I have thought about life after table tennis, I need to. I love table tennis, but I need to at least have an idea what my future looks like after table tennis.”

Naturally, it can feel unsettling stopping a career or even a personal passion. For athletes, it can be the same once their career in sports is over, they can feel quite lost or even overwhelmed. The LMS education provided far more than a welcome distraction during lockdown. It offered a vision of a prosperous future for these athletes, where they can utilise the skills they have already obtained after giving their all to their respective disciplines.

Staying mentally focused

Success in sports requires psychological focus as well as physical training. It demands the mental strength and fortitude to stay on track and stick to a routine, even in the face of unique challenges like COVID. This type of resilience is a key component in an athletic career, with Ashley Facey-Thompson stating:

“Working hard is the norm. But doing extra is key for optimal performance and to push on forward, as well as being able to sleep etc. Also, it is vital to have time to yourself to reset and rest.”

A work/life balance is crucial for these athletes to stay mentally focused, as is having a range of different activities and goals to maintain their motivation. In addition to helping athletes discover new paths for their future success, the LMS program also provides the positivity to bolster the wellbeing through the development of new skills and the sense of achievement.

Whether it’s securing the right trade or competing for a gold medal, staying mentally focused is more than just a case of willpower. It’s also about having goals to aim for and a variety in activities, to keep you engaged throughout the day and feeling optimistic about the future. The LMS course is ideally positioned to do just that. It isn’t just a tool to improve athletes’ training education but also a positive mental boost in their demanding training schedules.

Overcoming past struggles

Achieving the necessary levels of athleticism to complete is something few people would have the psychological fortitude to do. Ultimately, that discipline to prosper is a skillset that is advantageous in any working environment, but especially in the financial sector. Learning from losses, maintaining a positive mindset and understanding when there are opportunities to develop and improve are all vital to driving success in trading as well as in the world of sport.

When asked about his career highlights, Ashley Facey-Thompson said:

“Winning two European medals and performing at the Rio 2016 Paralympic games are my biggest highlights. Also losing a bronze medal match at the World Championships in 2018. These situations make you stronger to bounce back, as clichéd as it sounds.”

As highlighted by Ashley, overcoming struggles is something that has made many athletes mentally stronger and more disciplined. This is vital to excel in any industry.

The LMS program is an excellent opportunity to build knowledge and trading skills, but it is still a demanding experience. Trading requires a particular type of mindset to drive success in such a dynamic industry. Professional athletes have already shown the resilience and determination to succeed in their respective fields: making them the ideal candidates to emulate that success in the financial sector.

Working towards future success

The valuable attributes that athletes rely upon daily to succeed in sport, can drive further success in their future. Their psychological fortitude, sheer work ethic and drive to overcome any challenges in their path are all transferable to trading. An athletic career has its own hurdles. Many find that, whether it’s due to injury or choice, they need to retire from the physical demands much sooner than they may be ready to stop working. Thankfully, they are ideal applicants for financial roles.

Ashley himself ended the interview by saying:

“For the little experience I have seen in trading, I have noticed self-drive is a key factor. I have also noticed you have to be able to work under the big organisation but work alone, as well as being able to handle pressure.”

In other words, the attributes which got them to a professional level in their athletic career naturally crossover into trading. Along with the drive of motivation, this can provide success within different aspects of their life.

If you would like to follow a similar path and you think you have what it takes to make your mark in the financial industry, then be sure to check out the educational resources available through ZISHI to set your course for a remarkable future. Our expert guidance and support can help you develop the knowledge and skills required to become a trader and potentially even pursue a new career path.