“I am coming to the end of my Sporting career……….what do I do next??!!”
This is a question most athletes who have played full-time, professional sport will face at some point in their career. In fact, it is not just athletes, but it is also the coaches and officials who have also devoted the best years of their working lives to their passion, sport.
Ideal Transition Period
Hopefully there is an ideal transition period where athlete, coach or match official has a planned exit strategy and a new career path on which to embark. Sadly, such people remain in the minority.
And of course, those that do have this chance are also in much better positions than those who through injury, or not being able to match the demands of their professional sport, are cast aside earlier than the individual would like or had envisaged……….where do they go? Who do they rely upon for help and guidance?
There was an interesting article in the Australian Financial Review recently where various former athletes were interviewed about their transition from high profile sport into the world of business
http://www.afr.com/leadership/careers/a-new-playing-field-20150101-12gply (need to go in through Google & not AFR site as will be blocked)
Sporting Organisations Need to Help
Sporting organisations across the board have become more cognisant of the need to help sporting people as they leave a sport. There are many Career & Welfare programs, staffed positions, and Player Associations which assist clubs and sports support athletes during and after their careers. In some respects, I think they do this better than business does.
However, the sportsperson is their own worst enemy many times. They simply do not want to think about retiring, or giving up what they have done for 15-20 years since they were young teenagers.
The athlete, the coach and the official have lived and breathed their sport to the exclusion of many things that their counterparts outside sport generally have not. It is simply because they have found that they have a skill set and a passion for playing, coaching or officiating sport – which is of course what we all seek in our respective daily work lives.
So why would you want to give up, something that you are good at; something that you love doing; and something that you get reasonably well paid to do!
As a consequence, many if not most, do not want to look too far ahead, because ‘outside the sanctity of the dressing room’ is a world that they are not sure of. It is a world where the sporting skill sets they have relied upon for years do not seem to fit. And it means that there will be a need to establish new networks of people who have other interests and goals than sport.
Assist the Transition
As I mentioned sporting bodies, Player associations are all looking at ways to assist the Transition. I am involved with International Leaders (www.internationalleaders.com) which has regional networks in Queensland (www.qldleaders.com.au), NSW (www.nswleaders.com.au) Victoria (www.vicleaders.com.au), NZ (www.nzleaders.co.nz) with South Australia and West Australia commencing early 2016.
We are commencing a Sports leadership transition program for sports people who are looking to transition into business post-sport. It is a program designed to provide expert knowledge from a range of mentors across all aspects of business. At the same time, provide a support network around them so that the individual is not left floundering with where and to whom can I take my business; or to whom can I sit down with over coffee or a series of meetings to discuss my next steps.
It is an exciting development for Leaders, and we look forward to being part of helping those athletes, coaches and officials who are making the transition from sport to business, a successful one.
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