Spoiler alert: at the age of 18, Jake, by then fully recovered, made the AFL. But there he found a new challenge. While the overall goal of any AFL team is to win a premiership, he wasn’t sure how to set individual goals in such a fluid and dynamic environment. “Playing with 22 blokes every week who all have different skillsets, it’s hard to set individual goals,” he says. “So for me, it’s about mindset and what I can bring to the table week in, week out. Then hopefully that helps make other people better in some way.”
Setting a goal of “I will win a premiership”, could have been frustrating for Jake, because there are too many variables outside of his control. But by breaking down the larger, team goal (winning a premiership) into something he can be accountable for day in, day out (being the best player he can be), Jake has been able to move towards the larger goal without feeling overwhelmed.
It’s the same approach he used while he was recovering from his injury – one foot in front of the other. “I just spend time over the ball, and do the basics well,” he says. “That’s how I keep myself engaged. It’s all about staying present, and being able to access your skills at the crucial times.”