It can be a daunting prospect when you retire from being a successful sports professional at a relatively early age to embark on a totally different career. But many of the skills you develop in sport will help you transition smoothly into a second career.
Playing in a team involves cooperation and understanding. Performance is improved if the team is working as one cohesive unit rather than a set of individuals. In rowing, for example, the boat will go faster if everyone pulls together. Scoring a goal in football or a try in rugby does not happen because of one player but as a result of tactics, strategy and teamwork. If you are able to demonstrate in business that you are a good team player, who appreciates the talents of others, you will be highly valued.
The rigorous training, day in day out, that goes into a professional sporting career is not for the fainthearted. Getting up early on dark, cold mornings, following a strict diet and pushing your body to the limits, all demonstrate a high level of commitment and self-discipline. This sort of focus and determination will be useful in any new career path.
Whether it is coping with the adrenalin rush of match day or handling your nerves at the start of an important race, you will be used to high-pressure situations as a sports professional. This experience makes you an asset in business as you are more likely to be able to stay calm when you are pitching for new business or when deadlines are looming.
If you have been a team captain at any point, you will have demonstrated that you possess strong organisational skills, are a good judge of character and are prepared to make difficult decisions when necessary. In addition, you will no doubt have shown how you are able to encourage, inspire and motivate your players. Leadership skills like this will hold you in good stead in any area of business.
A competitive spirit
Winning and losing are an intrinsic part of sport so the lessons you will have learnt over the years will be invaluable in the workplace. Any employer will welcome your ambition and drive for success, which can be channelled into hitting targets and striving for improvement. They will be equally impressed, however, if you have adopted a healthy attitude to accepting defeat and learning from your mistakes. Everyone likes someone who is respectful and shows good sportsmanship, whether it is on the pitch or in an office.
The end of a sporting career does not mean the end of a working life, it could be just the beginning of an exciting new future. It is wise to bear in mind that the earlier you start to plan for your new career, the smoother the transition will be.
DBL helps many sports professionals as they plan for their second career. If you would like to discuss what needs to be put in place, do get in touch.