We learn to set goals all throughout our sport career. These goals are usually performance-based and quantitative. (2km times, race results, team ranking, level of competition, etc.)
However, there are two types of goals athletes often forget to consider:
1) Qualitative goals in sport
2) Goals when exiting sport
1) Qualitative Goals
Performance-based goals are obviously important when progressing through sport. However, there is a possibility that an athlete will choose to retire before completing all of their quantitative goals. It is important for athletes to create goals that look a little deeper into why they are in sport. What is the ultimate purpose they want to achieve in sport? Whether they get one opportunity to race for team Canada or they go to the olympics, what matters is the fulfillment an athlete achieves based on their sport experience.
Some things to consider when evaluating your fulfillment in sport:
Most of these qualitative achievements won't change if you decide to leave sport now or later. Your decision should be based on whether staying in sport will continue or taint your fulfilment from sport.
2) Transition Goals
The second set of goals is to help plan your transition. Similar to goal setting in sport, it is important to set goals and intentions when leaving sport to keep you focused on the process of a successful transition. This can be broken into two categories; 1) Sport Related and 2) Career Related
Transitioning athletes need to ask themselves two questions: 1) What level of involvement do you want to keep in sport? 2) What do you want to do after sport?
After learning about athletic identity, transitioning athletes should keep in mind the two extremes of athletic identity.
It is usually unrealistic for an athlete to maintain them same amount of training hours when retiring from sport. It is also unhealthy for an athlete to go from 10+ training sessions a week to 0. Finding the right balance of exercise is important to the physical and mental health of a transitioning athlete. (CSIO guide to transitioning coming soon)
The larger, more philosophical, questions revolve around finding your new purpose after sport. Some athletes know exactly what they want to do after sport while others need to do some soul searching. Refer to Stage 2 for a more detailed look on career planning and helpful resources.
It is beneficial for athletes to start asking themselves these questions before they transition. There are opportunities to start working towards your next career while still in sport. This will help you get a head start in your life after sport. Examples of these are: volunteer opportunities, part-time jobs, working on your portfolio, taking part-time school courses, and networking.