Tips for Athletes Transitioning to a Life After Sports

Senior Day. The day in which a team’s senior student-athletes are honored for their dedication to the team, the program, and the school as a whole. Speeches are often given highlighting the student-athletes’ on-field accomplishments and memories, hugs, and sometimes tears are shared.

Having been a college athlete, I am quite familiar with the annual festivities, and while these days are supposed to be a celebration, many senior athletes experience overwhelming anxiety and sadness. It is not only the last regular-season game played on their home field but for 95.47% of athletes, it’s the end of an era.

The Athlete Transition: Life After Sport

Athlete Transition Life After Sport | Beyond Sports | Life After Sports | Leaders of Evolution

Senior Day is often the largest moment of realization for college athletes that there is life beyond sports. It is a day that athletes recognize that their collegiate athletic careers are coming to an end and it is time to create a life after sports.

While it may sound a bit dramatic to those that have not competed in college athletics, athletes’ transition to life after sport can be very difficult. No longer having to follow a strict practice schedule or team rules, life after sports requires young adults to create their own priorities and redefine their self-image. When you retire from college athletics and enter the real world, the line “I’m an athlete” or “I’m on the __ team” that you typically used while introducing yourself, doesn’t seem to matter. 

The Problem: What is life after sports?

For athletes that have been defined by their connection to sport for the majority of their lives (or at minimum for the last four years), it is difficult to imagine life beyond sports. Questions like “What do I do with all of my free time?” or even “What beyond sports am I good at?” are normal. Peers, family members, college campuses, and society have defined these individuals as athletes for as long as they can remember, and at the end of their college career, many individuals believe that part of their identity is gone.

It is time for student-athletes to realize that there is an entire life beyond sports, a life in which they have numerous strengths and limitless potential. It is time for universities to allocate the necessary resources to strengthening the entire student-athlete, mind, body, and spirit, so they are ready to tackle life beyond sports.

The Solution: Proactive Life After Sport Training

Athlete Transition Life After Sport | Beyond Sports | Life After Sports | Leaders of Evolution

To prevent student-athletes from feeling lost and unmotivated about their life after sports, college athletic programs should implement proactive and engaging leadership and life-skills training that not only prepares athletes for the transition to life after sport but excites them. At Leaders of Evolution, we believe that all athletes deserve access to high-quality training that will help them succeed on the field (team culture) and in the workplace (communication and resilience.)

Leaders of Evolution collaborates with universities to create a tailored curriculum about some of life’s most important lessons. These lessons are designed to help athletes while at college, during their transition, and during their life after sports through building student-athletes’ confidence and character. 

Leaders of Evolution have collaborated with well-known athletic departments, such as the Syracuse University, with the goal to implement a four-year leadership development program for student-athletes to understand topics mandated by the NCAA like substance abuse and how to build healthy relationships, as well as lessons specific to life after sports such as how to harness athletic transferable skills in life. Leaders of Evolution is ready to design an online education plan to help your student-athletes be ready for life after sport.

When life is no-longer closely monitored by coaches or the NCAA it is essential that student-athletes have the knowledge they need to make the right decisions during their life after sports and be successful in the game we call life.

To learn more about how your school can partner with Leaders of Evolution to better prepare for athlete transition to life after sport visit https://leadersofevolution.com/e-learning-hub-partnership-universities/.

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Leaders of Evolution are passionate about education. We expertly design and deliver technology enhanced e-learning courses focused on leadership, social and emotional learning, career readiness and sports coaching for students, teachers, athletes, coaches and the wider community.

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Hannah Hunt

Former Division 1 lacrosse player who is still trying to get her fill of competition through local club sports and intramurals. Hannah is her happiest when doing something active or spending time with friends and family. Currently living abroad with her husband, she stays busy learning the language, exploring new places, and cooking fun recipes.

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