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Jorrit de Ruiter: How to stop struggling after professional sports life?

© Jorrit de Ruiter+

Today I want to shine a light on a very important and under valued topic: life after professional sport. The reason is a brave article about one of the best female mixed doubles players we have had in my sport, Gail Emms from England.

Once you decide to quit doing the thing you love to do most you need to reinvent yourself. Who are you beside your sport? What’s your new identity and what are you going to do to have your days filled in a satisfying way? Those topics are really NOT easy and can cause huge problems, mentally, physically and for some athletes also financially. Unfortunately the services and support of association and National Olympic Committee almost stops the moment you walk out of the door of professional sports. They suddenly kind of forget all the years you performed on a world stage in big events as World & European Championships and Super Series tournaments. You are simply not interesting anymore while it’s actually a golden opportunity to keep an athlete inside your association as for instance a coach, mentor for youngsters or an advisor for the board.

Together we need to pay way more attention to this problem which is getting bigger and bigger. NOC and a National association should not take only responsibility for supporting and developing athletes during their professional careers but should also take care of them in their post professional sports life! If we can create a society that makes it clear where to go to once you retire and who can coach and help you in your new life things will get so much easier.

Read the full opinion piece at Jorrit de Ruiter's website.

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