On 25th October 2019, the English Institute of Sport’s Performance Lifestyle team joined forces with UK Sport’s Athlete Futures team to put on the first sport specific Athlete Futures event for over 30 of British Sailing’s athletes.
Held on location at the RYA’s Weymouth and Portland base, the theme of the day was ‘Investing in Yourself’, something the Performance Lifestyle practitioners work closely on with the athletes on a daily basis in order to help them lay potential foundations for their life after sport, as part of the EIS’ More2Me campaign.
A variety of ex-athletes spoke about their experiences of preparing for a life outside the pursuit of medals, focussing on how athletes can start to prepare now rather than at the point of retirement. Sessions throughout the day focussed on networking skills, as well as business alignment and campaign management skills.
The keynote was delivered by double Olympian Lizzie Simmonds, who spoke about the importance of personally investing in the practical elements of transition; from developing a CV, to gaining work experience, establishing a personal brand and highlighting transferable skills, and how all of these elements can aid an athlete in navigating themselves through the emotional stages of transition. She also touched on the importance of finding new passions, and spoke about how athletes who explore other interests tend to be happier, healthier, and on average, perform better in their sport, highlighting to attendees that there are benefits not just for the future but for the here and now too.
Former athlete who contributed to the day Saskia Clark praised the event, saying “I did not expect to struggle with the emotional element of transition. I think it looks like the Athlete Futures event is a great start to helping the athletes think about, but actually engage with some work and networking opportunities. Well Done!”
Head of Performance Lifestyle Jo Harrison added that ‘This event has been a great addition to the Athlete Futures series and is a great example of how we are responding to the specific needs of sports. Hearing from respected fellow athletes and networking with employers really helps to keep personal and professional development of world class athletes on the agenda which is so critically important not just in terms of laying the foundations for the future but also for performance and well-being in the present. It’s so positive to see such great attendance and engagement from the GB sailors.’