So you’re an athlete…
You probably love…
- the adrenaline rush after a great play
- the feeling of your heart pounding after a great workout
- being engrossed in the game
- the pre-game jam sessions with your teammates
- how awesome your walk up song makes you feel
- the anticipation of the shot-gun start
- being in the zone
- the post-practice soreness
- seeing your die-hard fans cheering in the stands
- the feeling of accomplishment when you PR or reach a huge goal
- knowing that nothing else matters in the moment of a practice/game
… and you just experienced all of those things for the last time.
Being an athlete is your world – it is a huge part of your identity, but now you’re done. Now what? How do you fulfill that new gaping hole? The answer is quite simple.
Keep being an athlete.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, an athlete is “a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina.” You can still be an athlete, it just might look a little differently.
Find a gym and start strength training
There are many things to look for in a new gym: available equipment, gym size, hours of operation, price, location, etc. Find one that fits your needs and make it your second home. You can create your own workouts based on previous experience or other resources. To optimize your workouts and efficiently work towards your goals, you may even hire a personal trainer, sport performance coach, or other fitness expert to create these workouts for you.
Look through your local guides to try something new
Most towns and/or schools have recreational guides or community education booklets that list a variety of opportunities to participate in organized sports; everything from pickleball to swimming to volleyball. Find something in one of these guides that you’ve always wanted to try and give it a shot.
Join a fitness class
Find some nearby fitness/workout classes in your area. A few of the most popular classes include yoga, pilates, Zumba, crossfit, spin, or HIIT. Find something that keeps your body moving and that you have fun with.
Play in a league
There are a variety of town league teams where athletes join in from all sorts of athletic backgrounds. They all unite to participate in a sport that they love, a few times a week. What a great way to meet new people too!
Gather some friends for a pick-up game
Activity is always more fun with friends. Playing an intense game of spikeball, golf, volleyball, basketball, or any other pick-up game can make you easily forget that you’re getting a workout in. Tally up the score, get a sweat going, and reach a new level of competitiveness with all your close friends and family members. It almost seems effortless!
Train for a race
Take being competitive to the next level with an organized race – 5K, triathlon, marathon, ironman, cycling race, etc. Find a reliable source and follow a training plan to prepare for your race of choice!
Set some new athletic goals
Practice determination, dedication, and drive by setting new goals and working towards them. Remind yourself of them – it helps you to become self-aware as to where you are in your lifelong journey. Be prepared to do whatever it takes to reach these goals.
Become a coach or sports official
Contact your local school or other athletic organization to see if there are any coaching positions available. Another way to get involved is to become an officiant for the sport of your choice.
Just because the chapter on your high school/collegiate athletic career is complete, doesn’t mean the book is finished. Stay active. Climb to new heights. Don’t lose that part of your identity.
As ambitious athletes, we are always looking forward – to the next practice, next game, next tournament, and the next opportunity to accomplish our goals.