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Helping Student-Athletes Transition to Life After Sports


Life after sports. Whether you’re a professional athlete retiring after years of play, or you’re a college athlete ready to transition into the real world, sooner or later, the day comes where reality sets in and you’re facing a serious life change. This new identity can be hard for many athletes to adjust to, especially if their lives were completely focused on their sports. According to the NCAA, between 1 and 1.5% of college athletes continued on to play at the professional level while the vast majority of others transitioned into a life not utilizing their athletic capabilities. Now may be the time for you to plan for your transition, which is where our professionals can provide the right assistance.

Unlock The Champion is here to help colleges and corporations align their athletes or working professionals with the best mindset for future growth and success. Our executive coaches focus on the power of the individual, as well as each person’s power and influence on others around them. Learn more about our college outreach program to learn more!

Set Your Sights on the Future

One of the most pressing concerns facing college athletes as they turn to the future is planning ahead. A large number of athletes do not come to terms with the end of their careers, and fail to reflect on this reality once they graduate. Life will be much easier if athletes face this change and take it on in earnest!

Planning ahead means focusing on academics and relationships in addition to sports. Colleges serve to help young adults prepare for their roles in qualified positions, and should be used to help you gain as much education as possible to help you later on. Athletes will have both educational and athletic mentors available to make the best of both worlds. It’s also important to focus on building meaningful relationships, taking the time to catch up and bond with both your peers and mentors.

Focus on Healthy Nutrition

One of the first ways to improve your outlook after college is to take care of yourself. For most athletes, this involves creating a healthy diet plan to account for the changes in both activity and caloric intake. Many students struggle with maintaining a healthy meal plan, as intensive training and diet controlling help to generate results. You may be faster and stronger, but you likely do not have the tools to sustain this level.

Unfortunately, the decline in healthy dieting also runs parallel with a decrease in physical activity, creating a two-fold concern for individuals transitioning out of sports. Many athletes struggle to maintain a healthy weight after college, requiring a fitness plan in addition to a diet plan. We recommend that you plan ahead and generate a plan to keep you healthy and happy.

Focus on Work Ethic and Accountability

One problem many athletes face is the imbalance of determination and grit on the field versus the classroom. Unfortunately, this mindset continues with students as they transition into the work world. Placing a focus on speed, reflexes, and other physical attributes was essential in dominating your sport, but the work world typically depends on much more mental work.

Rely on Your Skills

Athletes are known to be among the most critical individuals. You hold yourself to a high standard, and constantly look at your performance to measure worth. One way to gain confidence moving forward is to focus on your strengths as an individual, relying on the tools you’ve gained and honed over the years to help you excel in any environment.

If you want to generate success, you will need to take some time to figure out your strengths and weaknesses. Most workplaces are looking for competent, confident individuals who are open to criticism and improvement. By focusing on your skills, you can highlight your value as a professional. A few tasks to consider include:

  • Creating a training schedule — While this calendar may not have a set game schedule or practice routine, you can rely on the strict structuring which followed you through college. Many former athletes struggle with the autonomy of life without a team or its obligations. We recommend creating a schedule to keep you productive and sharp while you fine-tune your career and other pursuits.
  • Relying on your strengths — Dedication, hard work, perseverance: athletes have a lot of positive attributes which can transfer into the real world, yet many struggle to calculate their actual worth. Instead of doubting your abilities, focus on the skills you’ve gained in college and on the field.
  • Finding a mentor — Most athletes thrive under the direction and guidance of their coaches. If it has been ingrained in you to ask for feedback and improve with the help of a mentor, now may be the perfect time to find coaching off the field.

Unlock the Champion is here to serve as executive coaches and guides for working professionals and student athletes. Our Leadership Mastermind, for example, focuses on helping athletes and employees discover who they are and align with what is important to them. UTC’s coaches focus on creating the right mindset for athletes, playing to their skills and strengths to excel in the professional world. We know you have the power to succeed, and our leadership training programs are tailored to provide the right tools and resources!

Change Your Mindset

Experts have completed studies and experiments to determine how to make life easier for student-athletes once they transition out of sports, and the results are pretty universal — the less an athlete’s purpose and identity revolves solely around sports, the less upset that individual will be once their sports career comes to an end. You’ve dedicated a lot of your time and physical health to your craft, but your sport is something that you do, not what defines you.

Contact Us Today

Are you ready to see how effective our executive coaching and counseling for athletes can be in providing the right tools and mindset to excel? Contact us today to learn more!