Life after sport: Accept retirement
If there is one certainty in sport, it is that you will retire and find yourself having to deal with life after sport one day. No one can guarantee the end date. You may have the good fortune to bow out on your own terms, when and where you choose. Others find themselves unexpectedly having to deal with life after sport – either through injury, de-selection or non-renewal of contract or funding.
Research into successful career transition out of sport has identified a number of key areas for successful transition. Over the next few blog posts I’ll be looking at each of them in more detail.
The first step for a successful life after sport
The first step in any successful transition is being able to accept that the change will happen.
Athletes often don’t address the retirement issue during their sporting career as they prefer to deny that it will happen to them. Beware of the “superman syndrome”: “it’s not going to happen to me”. It will. The thought of retirement may be scary but it will become reality one day.
Preparing boosts performance
It is not only athletes who prefer to avoid the subject of retirement from sport. Quite frequently clubs and coaches discourage this too as they like to concentrate their efforts on the present or the next victory. They worry that thinking of retirement takes your mind off the ball and your performance will suffer. It doesn’t. In fact, research shows quite the opposite: in many cases performance has actually improved.
At whatever stage you are in your career, accept now that retirement will happen one day. Be aware that it’s up to you. It is your life and your retirement – and you need to take responsibility for it.
By simply facing up to this fact you can start to prepare for life after sport. The transition may well be challenging – but nothing is as bad as waking up one morning, realising that your career is over, not knowing what to do with the rest of your life and not knowing where the next pay cheque is coming from.
If you or someone you know is in this situation, you need to take steps to prepare yourself for the challenges that lie ahead. Look out for my upcoming blogs about the other key areas for a successful transition into life after sport over the next few months. You can also subscribe to my newsletter and find out more about yourself by filling in our online questionnaire: Are you ready for life after sport?
I have also developed a new online career tool to help sports people transition successfully. If you are a professional athlete and would like to be involved in the testing phase of this innovative new tool, please contact me via the website or call me Tel: +41 79 628 4047
Are you facing retirement or have you retired already? Have any questions or tips for others in the same situation? Leave a comment below.