Athletes spend years honing their skills in preparation for competition. They start with the basics and build on these as their capabilities allow. With changes and development of their respective sport, athletes may need to adjust to keep up with competitors.
This approach is also needed outside of sport and a retiring athlete will need to consider what preparation is needed to play a new game in a whole new arena – the game of life.
I am a great believer in perpetual learning and when someone takes it upon themselves to seek more knowledge and skills they will find that the more they know, the more they realise how much they don’t know. With new goals, it is time for the athlete to identify what resource and skills will be needed to reach those goals.
Athletes are often already highly skilled in the art of persistence, the ability to focus, teamwork, problem solving and goal setting. On retiring from sport, it’s time to apply these in a new direction. They may need to strengthen skills such as organisation, time management and leadership.
More importantly, retiring athletes will need to assess their skills in areas that are not commonly associated with sport such as financial literacy, communication, sales, specific skills related to their chosen career, and more. There are several ways to learn and it is generally best to do a combination. Reading books and educational magazines is a start and then there are courses, seminars and longer study. I’m always looking for the latest courses on offer to see what more I can learn to develop my knowledge and personal development.
It is important for an individual to apply the same ‘do whatever it takes’ approach that they would have applied to their sport to now achieve success in a new career. If this means studying for four years at university then they should be prepared to do it. It is better than wasting four years in an unsatisfying job or career.
A champion in sport was willing to learn new skills and then practise, practise, practise. Perhaps it even felt easy to do because of the passion for the sport. When a retired athlete finds a course of study that is in line with their dream and passion, they will enjoy the study too, and then learning will become easy. For a successful transition from sport, athletes will benefit from a commitment to a life of learning in order to continue to grow and develop. Learning is the best investment for the future.