Preparing for life after athletics

One of the downsides to being a professional athlete is that it is quite difficult to find an activity as engaging, as rewarding, stirring up anything close to the same levels of intensity and passion professional athletics. Another is having to chuck a whole array of skills acquired and honed for the better part of two decades and going on to do something else. These two reasons are the major factor why many ex pro athletes find adjusting to life after sports quite a handful.

The human body isn’t a machine and retirement is an inevitable phenomenon. Therefore, it is important to start planning for retirement well before you retire from competition. Transitioning to a life after sport however isn’t an easy task therefore, tips that aid smooth transition might be useful to have.

Decide on what you want to do.

The first step to handling post retirement is deciding what you want to do when you retire. While deciding possible career paths, it is important to play to your strengths. Careers that complement your abilities often tend to be the most fulfilling ones as they tend to be things you have a passion for. Take the time to think about what you enjoy, what you would excel at, then you can begin your journey towards a job that best suits you.

Do your research.

Once you have an idea about what you would like to engage in after sports, you should start researching on your chosen career paths ahead of time and find out as much as you can about that industry. Why researching, it is important to find out what skills, experience and education are required for the roles you want and find out what the companies in the industry are looking for.

Hone your skills and get qualifications where necessary.

As a result of skills honed during a glittering sporting career, including motivation, leadership traits and ability to handle enormous pressure, ex athletes often make better employees. As an elite athlete, your skill set can be transferred and directed towards building a career after sports. However, some careers require more than innate skills and specific training and qualifications for example, coaching badges if you want to become a coach, analytical skills and deeper knowledge about sports if you would like to become a sports analyst, and professional training and fitness courses if your goal is Becoming a Personal Trainer. You may be able to gain new skills and experiences even while you are still a professional athlete.

Set goals.

One of the main requirements for sustainable success is goal-setting. As an athlete, you are already familiar with the process of setting and achieving short term, medium term, and long term goals. Setting goals focuses your acquisition of skills and knowledge and the utilization of your finances, sets time frames and helps focus your efforts.

Build a network.

Throughout your sporting career, you are very likely to have come in contact with people with diverse backgrounds and who are active players in their respective industries. Expanding your connection would mean that there are more people and more opportunities for you to demonstrate your abilities and skills, and also potential clients in case you decide to set up an independent outfit. Once you have decided on your preferred industry, the next logical step is to make new and keep up with existing contact from that area.

Being a top-level athlete for many is the achievement of a life-long dream. However, most sports careers do not last forever. Being prepared for a life outside athletics is the first step to handle the adjustment difficulties that have plagues many retired professionals.