Compared to other careers, athletes need to retire early, often starting from their late 20’s. This can be a difficult time for athletes, especially if their lives are about competing in the field of sports. If sports are taken from their lives, they may lose the sense of purpose. The transition period is crucial and it’s important to make sure that athletes still feel the purpose. It’s not uncommon for retiring athletes to feel down and a few of them are on their ways towards depression. If their career has brought so much reward, letting it go can be a very difficult thing. Here are things athletes should do to ease the transition:
- Find new factor of significance: Significance is often defined as a specific human need. People are always looking to fulfil their needs, unconsciously or consciously. A new significance in life should be viewed and approached in a positive manner. Athletes should plan pro-actively to get something in a rewarding fashion.
- Define new inspiring goals: Athletes are goal-oriented and they seek to achieve goals. In fact, goals can provide direction and motivation. Before retirement, athletes should be clear of their new goals and they are feeling eager for the new phase in their lives. Retiring shouldn’t be seen as “not playing sport” anymore, but instead, a new fulfilling chapter in their lives. Athletes should think short and long term, so they have a structured program. It is important to continue having a sense of achievement. Long term goals can help athletes to think big and short term goals can help athletes to think that retirement is more manageable.
- Have positive self belief: Whether you believe that you can or you can’t do something, you are right either way. As an athlete, you should know that you have achieved great things in the past. Unfortunately, confidence in sports may not translate well to other areas of your lives. This could happen if athletes think that their abilities and talents are limited only to sports. You need to be committed to your goals and find ways to override any negative self-belief. Mental health consultants could help professional athletes to remove deep-seated negative beliefs a few years before retirement.
- Get support: When athletes retire, they don’t only lose a career, but also coaches, teammates and people are supporting them. If you plan to have a new career, you should find out whether you get new teammates or co-workers. You can overcome transitions much more easily, if you work with new, friendly people.
- Learn new skills: Often, athletes are focused only on sports-related skills. They should start to learn new skills that are useful during retirement period. In fact, some skills in sports, like time management and time work can be transferred to other areas. You shouldn’t only try to find new success, you should also feel fulfilled. In fact, athletes should see retirement as a challenge that allows them to grow in various areas. Athletes should be committed to perpetual learning process.