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High-Level Athlete Career Transition: Why Act Today

The professional transition of high-level athletes is a complex reality that deserves special attention, especially approaching major sporting events such as the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games, which will bring together approximately 15,000 high-level athletes, along with 500 athletes and 300 para-athletes. With often brief careers and abrupt transitions at the end of their sporting lives, career transition becomes a crucial step to anticipate and plan for as early as possible.

Key Figures in High-Level Athlete Career Transition:

Each year, approximately 3,000 high-level athletes conclude their careers, coming from various disciplines. Behind these figures lies a often precarious reality: 80% of Olympic athletes live on less than €900 per month, and 40% of them have not even obtained a high school diploma, highlighting the socio-economic challenges they face.

Challenges of Career Transition:

High-level athletic careers are often short-lived, demanding early consideration of transition. Many delay action, which can lead to financial and professional difficulties. This need for transition affects not only the minority of athletes who reach the elite level, but also the many others who compete at lower levels and will also need to reinvent themselves professionally.

The Importance of Education and Diversification:

It is crucial to consider education and career transition for high-level athletes now. The majority often redirect towards fields related to their sport, such as coaching, but opportunities also open up in other sectors. Investing in education and career transition is therefore a key element to ensure a successful transition out of the professional sports world. By acquiring new skills and exploring alternative career opportunities during their athletic careers, athletes can prepare for a smooth transition once they hang up their cleats or sneakers.

The harsh reality of transitioning to the professional world:

The transition to the professional world can be challenging for many athletes. It is essential that every sports career is conducted alongside studies, as part of a dual project. An Apec study highlights that athletes develop, throughout their sports careers, a set of interpersonal and soft skills valuable in the professional environment. These include resilience, perseverance, leadership, time management, teamwork, and results orientation.

“Even those who dropped out during their school years have gained experience, a vision, the notion of excellence, commitment, respect, anticipation, team spirit, know-how, and know-being… assets that must be recognized and transformed for adaptation to the professional world,” explains Laura Flessel, co-founder of Sport Excellence Reconversion.

Recognizing these transferable skills is essential for a successful transition to a new career, where the experience of high-level competition also provides the ability to manage stress, make quick decisions, and work under pressure. These are highly sought-after skills by employers. By capitalizing on these skills, athletes can approach their retraining with confidence and assurance

A Sometimes Difficult Dual Project to Achieve:

However, implementing this dual project is not an easy task. High-level athletes often regret the lack of training offers compatible with sports practice. They also express the need for professional and psychological support, especially considering that 80% of them experience periods of depression after ending their sports career.

Concrete solutions exist to support athletes in their professional retraining. Among them, Sport Excellence Reconversion stands out by offering tailor-made support to all athletes, regardless of their academic level and at any stage of their career. The coaching program guides them in realizing their professional aspirations, and the flexible approach adapts to their individual needs, thus optimizing their chances of success.

Act Today for a Successful Future

In summary, the numbers are clear: retraining is an essential step for high-level athletes. With often limited career durations and persistent financial challenges, it is imperative to anticipate future transitions. When is the right time to consider retraining? Today!

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