The (tender) age of retirement for a sports professional Image source: Bigstockphoto Image Credit and Copyright: © R_Tavani

The (tender) age of retirement for a sports professional Image source: Bigstockphoto Image Credit and Copyright: © R_Tavani

Sport is evidently known to provide very fulfilled and lucrative careers and salaries however, after the show is over, what sort of life is set for an athlete who was once in it for 24/7 and 365 of a year of his sporting profession?

The common thread so far has been using proceeds to go into business or re-entering the sports arena as a coach, manager or a media pundit.

Heavyweight boxer George Foreman was a business exemplar who showcased his culinary interests with the George Foreman Grill, and then we have Stephen Curry, who is now setting up a post pro-ball career in the golfing sector. We also have some ex-professionals venturing into charities and conservation. But is the post career status of a pro athlete just destined for business and sport? Could there be more to venture into? After all a sports career is segmented to just a part of an individual’s life. spoke to Stellenbosch Rugby Academys' Alie Brand to find out more about the retirement options available to a sports professional.

1. A sporting career often allows individuals at a relatively young age to return into the working world or if they are fortunate enough, into early financially secure retirement. Why is starting a business or staying in the sports industry such a trending factor?

The sport and business industry is a multi-billion Dollar industry and is the creator of many thousands of jobs. There is a definite gap in the market regarding top sport coaches, managers and entrepreneurs.

Popular jobs within the sector:

1. Corporate
Manager and Team manager;
Sport tournament- or sport project manager;
Sponsorship management, marketer;
Financial management in sport environment;
Player recruitment;
Entrepreneurship or small business management – incl. sales, human resources, computers / IT, customer service.

2. Team and on-field
Coach at junior to a First team level;
Referee at school and club level;
Game and performance analyst;
Coach different sport codes;
Assist with First aid and occupational health and safety;
PT presenters in schools;
Fitness and conditioning coach – individuals and teams;
Lifestyle consultant, present life skills;
Programme designer;
Sports Club administrator and sports facility administrator;
Community sports leader and Corporate sports officer.

2. What happens to sports professionals whose retirements are just not that financially stable, how can they re-skill themselves?

They can skill (or qualify) themselves to work in the field of sport, sport management and sport administration. They will be able to work in schools, sport clubs or in private institutions. Within a range of areas which include sport events, fitness facility management, single and/or multi-sport clubs, sport team management, community based sport development and mass participation programmes.

Typical courses or topics:

Business Management (of Sport, Recreation and Fitness);
Event and Project Management (of Sport, Recreation and Fitness);
Sport Sociology;
Sport Informatics (IT);
Practical experience.

3. So is preparing for retirement (outside of financial savings) before and during a sporting career just as important as after - for example studying further or working part time in a secondary career field?

Players should try and link what they learned during their playing career with relevant work experience. It is a meaningfully way to round off their sporting career as a player, preparing themselves for their new phase of life/career.

Good examples of skills to hone whilst on the job:

Analyze games
Analyze videos of games
IT scouting.

Coaching and Refereeing
Coaching at schools / clubs, clinics
PT at schools
Referee at schools, clubs.

Assist with organization of coaching
First Aid (or assist)
Team Manager
Chaperone at tournaments
Assist with rehab / recovery - monitor injured
Assist with equipment
Organize Community projects
Sport massage.

Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
Create motivational videos.

Create motivational videos
Use technology (beam, projector, we transfer, Dropbox, etc.)
Use Apps (Ultimate Rugby) for teams
Use camera and video camera
Match analysis, feedback and sharing.

4. Therefore the transition to change the career role comes from the dynamic nature of an individual?

Yes, it is the balance of using soft skills and technical knowledge that provides the success in getting, keeping and advancing a job.

Good examples of the usage of “soft skills” in the business world:

Sport Management, Selling, Fundamental Skills, Compliance, Marketing, Customer Service, management, Occupational Health / Safety, Human Resources, Life Skills, Computer, and Small Business Management.