Career Transitions in Sport: What's Your Next Move?
Sport is a passion. There’s no doubt about that! Why do we know this? Because sport can be a persons most loved aspect of their life; yet immediately turn into their most hated.
Life Step Management know first-hand the difficulties professional athletes face in their day-to-day lives but most noticeably when they look to exit their sport and face the ‘real-world’. Some athletes (especially footballers) class the sporting-world they live in as a type of ‘cocoon’. This powerful statement shows that professional athletes can be so wrapped up that some aspects of their learning and development are neglected. There are too many stories of famous (and non-famous) athletes who have quickly left the sport with no evidence of a clear plan and the resources necessary to fulfil the years left in their life. This is where Life Step Management comes in.
Life Step Management was originally founded with the idea of providing life, personal and career coaching services to professional athletes. We understand from first-hand experience the lack of support for athletes away from their day-to-day competing and training. Athletes spend more time away from their work than they do in it, which can leave a lot of time to build up anxiety, pressure and even sometimes depression. Life Step don’t intend to just deal with athletes in these situations, we feel clubs and athletes themselves must do more to prevent these types of situations occurring. As a result, the performance and well-being of athletes must improve, which benefits both the club, the players and everyone else involved.
Athletes also represent the clubs and organisations they are a part of. This includes being an ambassador for that brand. Wouldn’t it be nice if when an athlete left that club, they built a good memory and maybe even learned things that were life-changing? Sport is a tool to develop essential life-skills, which is why Physical Education is demanded in schools. But as soon as they reach a professional level, these life skills are neglected and everything is done for them. At 30 years of age, some of these athletes are retired! And then they must think about what they want to do for the rest of their lives but how can they do that?
We have developed a number of programs and modules that enable individuals – not just athletes – to figure out what they’re good at, what they enjoy and then how to set strategic goals to make them a reality. Even something as simple as writing an email or creating a CV can be like rocket-science to some athletes…Scary, eh? Athletes require confidential support away from their staff and coaches. Even just by having someone to talk to about things away from sport and be truly beneficial. Vincent Kompany, the captain of Manchester City FC, stated that he is studying a business degree, which has actually helped his performances on the pitch.
'When you are studying for a degree, you don't have time to focus on playing Chelsea on a Saturday and then Barcelona on a Tuesday night. If I had nothing to focus my mind on then all I would be thinking about is my next game...worrying about my performance. This isn't good for a player's mind. Developing another interest is a future investment as well as being good way to take your mind off your performances'.
Sport is great and we should celebrate the fantastic careers people have in it. However we mustn’t neglect the important of caring for athletes for when they look to exit their sport. Career transitions for athletes is a major market and we need to focus on how we can maintain athlete motivation and well-being throughout their career so they can prosper as an athlete, and feel confident about their exit strategy.
Don’t you agree?
And for those athletes, footballers and all sportsmen & women out there...What's your next move? What would you like to do away from sport? What's your proudest achievement outside of your sport? If you are struggling with these questions; ACT NOW! @LifeStep_24