The ‘transition’ away from sport can be complex and challenging. It is also a process that is unique and personal to each athlete, with no set rulebook or timeframe in which to move away from their sport.
Lane 4’s Athlete Transition Programme is designed to help athletes through this transition, regardless of their sport, their achievements or how long they have been retired. The programme is free of charge and comes highly recommended by past participants, all of whom have benefited from the experience of programme leader and ex-lacrosse player, Rick Cotgreave.
“I became interested in the process of athlete transition as a way of making sense of my own experience of retiring from sport.
“I realise that it was over 10 years since I’d last played, and even longer since my last international competition, but I was still introducing myself as an ‘England lacrosse player’.
“There was lots within that identity that was important to me, but I had begun to realise that that identity was driving behaviours that were no longer helpful and did not define the person I was evolving into.
“What started as a chance to talk to fellow athletes about their experience became a research project with Sheffield University. What we discovered quickly was that my own experience was similar to many other athletes.”
The programme, which is conducted over three days (in a COVID-compliant, virtual setting until face-to-face contact is permitted) focuses on the ‘emotional journey’ involved with moving away from sport, and allows athletes from across the sporting spectrum to share their experiences, as Rick continues:
“Our sport shapes and defines so much about us. In the moment of retirement, de-selection or injury, a void is therefore left behind. The transition journey is making sense of how to deal with the sense of loss, building a broader definition of who we are as human beings that is greater than ‘athlete’, and finding new ways to create success and fulfilment beyond our sporting careers.
“The programme focuses on this emotional journey. We help athletes work together to understand that, while their own story is unique, there are themes that are common, and a natural response to a significant change in someone’s life.
“With greater awareness comes the opportunity to make sense of what they are going through and provide greater clarity on how to shape the next phase of their journey. What we are looking to create is a solid foundation for any athlete wanting to discover purpose and meaning in the world beyond sport.”
Athletes who have retired, or are considering retirement, from elite sport are invited to register their interest in the 2021 programme, dates for which will be confirmed based on demand and availability. You can register your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.