Retirement. One of the very few things athletes are ever ‘ready’ to face.
In a way, retiring from sport can feel like the end. The end of a dream, the end of years of hard work and sweat, and the end of our athletic careers. Being an athlete is who we are and what we do. Yet, retirement is inevitable.
While we all imagine our retirement being like Kobe Bryant’s ‘Farewell Tour’; being celebrated by fans, playing in front of our families, and soaking up every second of knowing this is our last season, very few of us will experience that. The reality is ugly, messy, and highly emotional.
Retirement from sport comes in so many forms; from being cut due to a coach’s decision, career ending injuries, or simply being ready for the next stage of life. Retirement can also come unexpectedly, completely blindsiding an athlete and turning their world upside down.
As elite athletes, sport is so tightly interwoven into every aspect of our lives. Strip that away and what’s left?
The struggles athletes face through retirement is truly life changing. We are used to having a highly structured day, utilizing every minute to the fullest for our training. We have a team to support us both in sport and in life. Our goals are set and clear, and we understand our purpose. We have an identity.
Through retirement, that changes. Frankly, it feels like everything changes. These are just a handful of obstacles that retired athletes face:
No Sense of Identity:
Being an athlete is part of who we are and how we recognize ourselves. We develop a sense of pride in our work, adaptability, teamwork skills and so many other traits that make us who we are. Without sport, it can feel like that part of us is left to grow dull and collect dust; forgotten in the back of our brain. Our focus here at ACT is to transition those skills into a fulfilling new career, which will bring with it a new sense of purpose and belonging.
Loss of Team:
Whether your skills lie in team sport or individual sport, there is a huge sense of family and support throughout your day-to-day life as an athlete. Retirement takes away that pillar that we so often leaned on. It’s a huge adjustment, knowing and accepting that the sport goes on without you. Coaches and teammates are focused on the next goal, and med staff are focused on their current athletes. Without
sport, retired athletes can feel lost and alone. Through this transition, it’s key to focus on yourself as a whole, and through that self-discovery you will find a new pillar to lean on.
Lack of Purpose:
Being an athlete is who we are and what we do. Our purpose is to be the best athlete we can possibly be. We are constantly working toward a goal and finding fulfilment in our training, our team successes, and our growth. When you retire from sport, that sense of purpose suddenly seems vague and just out of reach. With our transition guide focused on providing athletes with the relevant tools and guidance, we hope to pull that sense of purpose back into focus and help athletes direct their passion toward the next stage of life.
This time of transition is full of change, self-discovery and adaptability. Saying goodbye to our sporting careers invites a whole host of emotions, leaving us breathless and confused. Unfortunately, no one can prepare you for that. No one really talks about it, either.
We are here to change that.
Our mission at Athlete Career Transition is to normalize the conversation behind retirement while supporting and preparing athletes for this time of transition. Formed by world class athletes, ACT is a team after sport. We work with the athlete as a person, helping translate the skills acquired throughout their sporting careers into a professional business setting.
Our clients are global organizations that value the unique skillsets that athletes can bring to the table. Our transition guide, Jamie Komer, is an Olympic medalist focused on giving athletes tools to help them holistically. By championing elite athletes into lasting careers, we hope to help retired athletes gain a new sense of purpose, and diversify the companies that we work with.
If you are a retired elite athlete looking to take the plunge and submerge yourself in the daunting, exciting and rewarding experience that is life after sport, we would love to work with you. Join our talent pool today, and begin your transformative journey with ACT!