How To Avoid A Tough Post Career Transition

According to NFL Hall of Famer now Sports Analyst, Cris Carter, Jason Witten is returning to the NFL for the simple fact that the transition out of sports was too difficult for him to bear. Now, we don’t know why Jason Witten decided to put the pads back on and lace up for the Dallas Cowboys, but we do know countless professional athletes struggle with retirement when they are done playing. Matter of fact, that is one of the main reasons why professional athletes specifically ones in the NFL fall to financial troubles within 6 years of retiring.

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For someone like Jason Witten who transitioned directly into a lucrative broadcasting career that doesn’t mean the transition isn’t hard as well. Whether it’s simply missing the locker room and the opportunity to compete, not being on a set schedule and having too much free time, not being passionate about your current job or new profession, etc the retirement life isn’t for everyone especially if they are not prepared. Jason Witten can’t play forever. At some point he will have to retire for good. When the time comes, we can only hope he has taken the proactive steps to find something that gives him excitement.

As an athlete, you never know when it will end you just know that it will end. You can only control what you decide to do as a mentor once told me. So how can you avoid a tough post career transition:

Take Advantage of League Programs

The various sports leagues, albeit some better than others, are taking active steps to provide different resources for players throughout their careers. These are great opportunities to get a test run on different industries that may excite you when you are done playing. No longer are you forced to just be a coach, physical trainer, or commentator as the stereotype for post playing careers professionally worked. Your sports skills will translate into anything you want but how will you know if you aren’t actively looking at other things you may enjoy.

Get Your Finances In Order

Life is good when you are getting paid every week for playing football but what happens when you initially retire and aren’t getting paid. What’s your cashflow look like? How are you coping with expenses? Do you have payments you still need to pay off? When you stop getting paid some payments that you use to gloss over soon make you do a double take. The finances aren’t only changing for you but for your family as well. Is your significant other ready for the adjustments? These are all things a professional athlete should be prepared in asking themselves when they are done playing.

An Idle Mind Is The Devil’s Work Place

With the newfound freedom on your hands, it’s important to make sure you are doing something active. The number one thing that you can do is just sit idle. That’s how you end up spending money unnecessarily and becoming depressed because you aren’t doing anything. Whether it’s playing golf, spending more time with the family, traveling, a hobby, etc doing something can help ease the time of not playing.

There is no magic formula to beat the feelings you will get when you retire and every athlete is different. With that being said these tricks can help ease the tension.