By Doug Reed
As a footballer, you are recognised for your skill with a ball but to be a professional player demands much more than just technical ability. You will have developed a combination of attributes that are highly prized by employers and offer you a wide range of opportunities and career pathways once you finish playing.
Below we have highlighted 5 Key Attributes that you likely possess and are very valuable in any workplace.
You are used to setting and pursuing both short-term and long-term individual and team goals. You are results focused with a winning mentality and continually strives to make progress towards objectives. Because of this you ensure your efforts are directed towards contributing to the success of the organisation you represent.
4. Open to feedback
You are accustomed to very direct and honest feedback whether from coaches, teammates or the media as well as from the immediate results that sports competitions deliver. You hold yourself accountable for your performance and possess the habit of reflecting on where you need to improve. This makes you a quick learner who is able to follow guidance provided by management.
3. Team Players
Being part of a multi-disciplinary team in a high-pressured environment is your day-to-day habitat. To thrive you have learnt how to quickly build relationships and possess the emotional intelligence and communication skills to adapt to different characters. You understand that everyone has a role to play in a team and co-operation is crucial for collective success. This enables you to facilitate a team to function effectively.
Any playing career is full of highs and lows. You have become resilient and know to learn from failure and use it to fuel your motivation. When there is a setback you show commitment, determination and competitiveness to quickly get back on track and refocus on what you need to do to achieve objectives.
No player has made it in the highly competitive world of professional football without putting a huge amount of work in and understand how effort correlates with performance. You know to do something well requires time, discipline and a willingness to learn. Having this attitude can be inspirational to those you work alongside.
Whilst these may seem common or normal to you in your environment, possessing all of these qualities is rare and very valuable. The extraordinary life of a footballer develops extraordinary skills.
Naturally, as with anyone changing career, you will initially lack the task-specific skills when you go into a new profession, but these can be quickly learned. The transferable mindset and qualities you bring are much more difficult to acquire.
To minimise the uncertainty, apprehension and doubt that is inevitably present when transitioning from playing, and speaking from our experiences, we strongly encourage players to explore different post-playing career options as early as possible. This allows you to get a head start by gaining a basic understanding of different roles and knowing which path will be most rewarding for you.
This could be through getting insights from speaking to people in different industries, gaining work experience to get some exposure to potential roles, studying in your free time or just spending time pursuing your interests and hobbies. The sooner you start, the better prepared you will be.
Having an idea of what you will do when football ends can reduce the pressure that the game brings and it can give you a way to take your mind off it. Both may have the additional benefit of improving your performance on the pitch.
You are more than just a footballer and there is a lot of life left to enjoy after you stop playing. We are here to help and support players so if you want some advice on where to begin or just a chat about what the possibilities are, we’d be really happy to talk with you.