I subscribe to a newsletter from someone that I respect. Her name is Misty Buck and she is an athlete mental health and mindset coach. I follow her on Instagram and I find her story and methods interesting. Last week she sent out a newsletter that resonated with me and I thought I would share my thoughts on it. The title of the newsletter was “Make Peace With The End Of Your Sports Career”. Although my active playing career has been over since 2007 and I am very well adjusted with my “after sports life”, I felt intrigued by the title. The article was based on how moving on from your sports career can affect your mental health. I have to be honest and say that I did not have trouble moving on from playing ball. It probably had more to do with how I ended my career and went directly into coaching though. When I decided to stop coaching and went into education, there was also no problem for me because I knew it was time and I was leaving sports behind for a good reason.
I can only speak for myself in that matter, but I am sure for some athletes, it is not as easy as it was for me. Especially if you stop playing your chosen sport due to issues that are out of your control such as an injury. I can imagine in such a case, it would be difficult for anyone to come to peace with the end of their playing days. I did a podcast interview the other day and one theme I discussed was the little things that changed after I stopped playing, such as my diet. It took me a while (and a few extra pounds) to realize I no longer needed to eat as much as I did when I was a player. The extra calories went straight to my love handles because I was not burning them anymore like I had done practically my whole life. It may seem like a rather small issue, but how your body looks is something that many of us face as a part of our identity of being an athlete.
Misty gives great tips such as giving gratitude for the career you had, writing a letter to your sport, and realizing that your life isn’t over, it’s beginning a new chapter. With mental health for athletes becoming a more present topic in the minds of everyone, it would make sense to inform yourself if you find yourself struggling with your identity once the playing days are over. If you are, there is no shame in seeking out help and support. Whether it be with Misty, or someone else that you feel comfortable with. The help is there, just take the bull by the horns just like you probably did as an athlete!
Thank you for taking the time to read my words!