4 Things To Look For When Becoming A Free Agent
Free agent is just another word for unemployed but for some reason athletes use free agent in a lighter tone almost as if you are in between teams or something when in reality you don’t have a paycheck coming in and the luxuries of being a professional athlete aren’t currently afforded to you.
Athletes never really truly prepare for being a free agent because athletes think of it in one of two ways either you are an active player or retired. These notes are to help you not only prepare for the possibility of dealing with free agency but to have these things in place so the time of uncertainty is not as stressful for you as it was for so many other professional athletes
1. Health Care
Understanding that you don’t have healthcare is something you definitely take for granted while you are currently on a team. As a free agent you will be training hard to hopefully be ready for the next opportunity but what happens if you get hurt or sick while you are in free agency. You can’t just show up to your team doctor and get a prescription or get that MRI to check on a bum knee. What if you have a family? Health care should be one of the first priorities you look into when you are officially out of contract. You can prepare as much as you want but you never are fully prepared for accidents and emergencies. It’s important to reach out to your manager and players association about the alternatives and options regarding health care
2. Tracking Your Spending
Whether you have multiple sources of income or not, the absence of your professional sport contract will take a hit regardless of how well set up you are. It’s vital you have an understanding of the expenses you have so you can get a grip of where you may be able to adjust accordingly because of your situation. Things look different coming out of your account when there’s nothing coming in. All those subscriptions you were paying for, the car note, etc. add up differently. It’s a great time to look over where you are spending your money and what necessities you may have overlooked and what things you can possibly cut out until you get stability back in your life
It’s okay to be in the situation you are in. Don’t be ashamed, the life of a professional athlete is full of ups and down. The key is to be humble and understand where you are currently at. If you are trying to live a life that isn’t you then you will end up suffering more. Understanding your situation and making adjustments from there will give you the stability you need. You don’t have to cover the tab for your friends , you don’t have to spend money like you’re on a salary because currently you aren’t in that situation. When someone asks you, you can be upfront with your situation.
Being humble will help you get in the mindset you need to in order to make moves that serve to your benefit down the road.
Don’t be afraid to downsize for the uprise!
4. Finding Another Game To Play
Finding another game to play whether it’s temporary or becomes permanent is vital for you to make adjustments. Not only will it give you peace of mind but it will keep you busy and your mind off the stress of not currently having a professional situation. It doesn’t have to necessarily be a job whether it’s volunteering, coaching, teaching, or taking a random course. Finding another game will give you the opportunity to be engaged elsewhere.