Written by Andrew Thomson
Edited by Genevieve Gordon
Plan, Plan and Plan
The most common comment I hear from competing athletes is “I don’t have to think about my retirement, I’m still young”.
Whilst I cannot argue with the still being young part, the other part is a common misconception that should be addressed by all athletes as soon as possible in their sporting careers. Careers end abruptly and unexpectedly in many cases, through injury or loss of form. Not too many athletes will compete up to the age that they aspire to and not too many will walk straight into their next career immediately after their sporting career ends.
In the life of an athlete, it is never too early to start thinking ‘what next?’ I understand that many will say that it will distract them and they will lose their focus, but I do not believe this to be the case. What a great position to be in where you are not completely reliant on your sport and you are competing whilst knowing that you have a back up plan. I know this can be hard, all I ever wanted to do was to play football, but I also know that I wasted so much spare time during my playing career, time that could have been spent equipping me for the next 50 or 60 years of my life! It does not matter if you do not have a definitive idea of what to do after sport, find an online course and study something that is of interest to you, this will show a future employer that you can manage your time, focus on more than one goal at a time, and ultimately, see something through to its conclusion once you have started. Not to mention the ‘feel good factor’ of gaining a qualification! Try looking for some work experience, this will give you an insight into different areas that you think may be of interest and will increase your networking opportunities within the organisation and wider area of business. Also, volunteering is a fantastic thing to consider, not only will you be putting your experience to great use and making a difference in your community, it will also be viewed as a real positive for those prospective employers, in the hopefully very distant future!
You can read about Andrew’s recent outing to inspire young people here…