Why do Even Strong Minded Olympic Athletes find it Hard Transitioning to After-Sports Life? – Tips to Make Smooth Transitions in Life

By Amy Taylor on July 16, 2012

Athletes from across the world began arriving to the UK for the much awaited, 2012 Summer Olympic Games to be held in London.

Transitioning to Non-Sports Career

Being known for their strong sense of patience and determination, one would assume that athletes are more likely to succeed in life after their sporting careers. However, this isn’t always the case, found a new study.

Dr Steven Rynne from the School of Human Movement Studies from UK and his colleagues from Switzerland conducted a study on how athletes deal with life after career. They found that most of them find it hard to make transition easily, particularly when it comes to changing their social networks and going back to the workforce.

Athletes have characteristics that are found to be really helpful in making major life transitions, such as determination and patience. But submissiveness, competitiveness and perfectionism were found to be problematic.  Although some athletes are able to shift from their sporting career to an entirely new social and professional environment, some experience problems, including depression, disorientation and self-doubt, explained Dr. Rynne.

“This suggests that it is important to consider who and what shapes the development of Olympians and how this can be improved to foster elite performance as well as adaptive behaviours beyond elite sport,”, said Dr. Rynne. Her team was chosen the International Olympics Council’s (IOC’s) Olympic Studies Centre Research Grant Programme to carry out a study that would determine the best ways to help athletes transition from their elite sports back to their lives as ordinary individuals.

In life, there are beginnings and ends. Events might be easy and as is for a long period of time, but changes are always set to happen. What we can learn about the research is that even the strong-minded individuals may find it difficult to cope with life’s changes. There are some ways however, that people can do to lessen the burden.

Know what exactly it is you want

Happiness is all about pursuing for things that your heart desires. When you know what you want, it can be easy to cope with transitions, make the right decisions, and end up happy about it.

Limit your commitments to what you can handle

It’s easy to say yes to new opportunities but when you have a lot of things to handle; it’s less likely that you can complete them all with accuracy. Before you say the magic word, make sure to think about it carefully. If you think you can handle it, why not? Otherwise, better say ‘no’.

Keep your focus

When you have so many goals, you tend to lose focus which hinders you from achieving any of the things you aim. It’s okay to limit your goals to one or two as long as they are achievable.

Be ready for unexpected events

Some inevitable events may happen during the times when you least expect them. The best thing to do to prevent problems from arising is to be always prepared.

Give yourself time to enjoy and relax

You must have been too focused on your goals that you almost forgot to take a break and go out with friends and family. Never lose the balance in your life. Make sure you have time for the spiritual, social, physical, and emotional aspects of your life.

Work hard to overcome your weaknesses

It’s not enough that you identify your weak points. If you’re weak at communicating with others, make a research on how you can overcome it. If you’re weak at organising, learn about the ways to become better.

These are just a few of the many ways to handle major life transitions. For sure, you also have some tips to share. Feel free to post your comments below.

Source of this article:

Olympic effort adapting to life after elite sport, new study finds, University of Queensland


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