Basketball player Donatas Motiejūnas visited Lithuanian Sports University (LSU) before the trip to China, where he will play for the Xingjiang Flying Tigers this season. The athlete signed an agreement with LSU Rector Prof. Dr. Diana Rėklaitienė committing to provide support to a University student. “It is so nice to be able to financially motivate a gifted student to pursue professional goals. I hope that this support will encourage an even more enthusiastic involvement in sports or studies,” said D. Motiejūnas.
Another goal of an experienced basketball player’s visit to LSU was to extend an unclassified student’s studies at the University. D. Motiejūnas is willing to seek knowledge of sports science, study in Coaching Science study programme and become a basketball coach. The basketball player has already got to know that it is challenging to combine an athlete’s career and studies, but it is important for him to gain research-based knowledge.
“A lot of students do not like distance learning very much, they want face-to-face contact with teachers, but for elite athletes it is a great opportunity to combine sports and education. I hope that the well-organized distance learning now running at LSU will help me grow as a future coach. I have been dreaming for a long time that after finishing my professional career I would work as a coach of young athletes, motivate them and encourage. I am thinking about working for a team or in a sports school. I will have accumulated a lot of experience, which I will be able to pass on to young people,” said D. Motiejūnas.
According to LSU Rector D. Rėklaitienė, a well-known basketball player, as well as many other elite athletes and coaches, have the opportunity to pursue a degree. Individual study plans are prepared for them, and tests and exams are taken online. “Lithuanian Sports University has taken the initiative to create a unified dual career system for athletes, which will help athletes of all ages from all over the country to plan individual careers and prepare for work after finishing sports careers. We established the National Centre for Dual Career of Athletes earlier this month,” said D. Rėklaitienė.
According to D. Motiejūnas, the connection with the coach is very important for every athlete. Donatas, who has worked with many experienced basketball specialists in Lithuania and abroad, still remembers all the coaches dedicated to their work. “Kazys Petkevičius and other coaches spared no time or advice, I learned a lot from them and took over important subtleties of the game. Another role model for me is physical training coach Virginijus Mikalauskas. If it weren’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be playing basketball anymore. V. Mikalauskas helped me to recover from serious injuries and takes care of me every day so that I can play professional sports,” said the basketball player, who is going to China together with coach V. Mikalauskas.
D. Motiejūnas, who has spent almost half a year in Lithuania, has missed basketball and is looking forward to the approval of all the documents in order to play in China. Due to the processing of the documents, he will start the season later. The athlete knows he will have to live in a so-called bubble for several months, but despite all the challenges, D. Motiejūnas, if invited, is ready to represent the Lithuanian basketball team in the future.