Great article from The Conversation on the psychological challenges associated with letting go from the life of a dedicated athlete. Do athletes think about this enough while they are riding the big waves of sporting excellence? Research has shown that athletes who prepare for retirement and start the thinking process early actually perform better as athletes and for a longer period. Having the pressure of the “all eggs in one basket” approach does promote burn out. An overly developed athletic identity can be disastrous both during competition and definitely in retirement when the “who am I” question comes thundering home. However, talking about retirement our outside interests will always remain a challenge while it is seen as a distraction. It has to be seen as a performance enhancer – which it most definitely is.
We are trying to shift mindsets around this through our workshops
The opening lines from The Conversation article below. Click here to access the full article
Some of the biggest names in professional sports are facing retirement. David Ortiz and Kobe Bryant recently announced that they’ll be calling it quits in 2016. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods is openly talking about the possibility of retiring from professional golf if his surgically repaired back does not heal. Peyton Manning, sidelined after suffering a debilitating foot injury, has fans and sportswriters wondering if this season could be his last.
All of us must eventually confront the end of our careers; for professional athletes, the end comes at a younger age, often under intense media scrutiny.