Actually in theory, the explanation is quite simple and clear. What is tougher, is the realization and the solution to it, which is where most fail.
I am going to keep it simple right now. You just nod and see if what you read applies to you.
Man is a cultural creature and of course an athlete is part of the general culture but with his own sub-culture with specific characteristics.
And that is where the “problem” and the solution is to be found.
An athlete is constantly evolving, trying to master his world(his sport) by which he is being valued and measured by. It is the skills and achievements that define an athlete for the outside world and he gets used to that life.
Everything takes place in the “bubble” of being an athlete.
He shares some behaviors with other athletes in the bubble and that is accepted by everyone, athletes or not.
That situation is the realm of the Known. A typical day, week, month, year, is accepted no matter how hard physically or mentally it gets. It may seem hard for those outside the bubble(non athletes) and make them wonder how is it possible, but the athlete knows by now and doesn’t pay attention; it is a routine followed with religious zeal.
What happens then, is the destruction of everything they knew up until that point in life.
Think that is not a big deal? Think again!
It is the destruction of a world, the bursting of a protective bubble that kept all the troubles of the “real” world out.
Retirement is a time of change, the Unknown then comes flooding in the life. All past routines,goals, habits, way of life, finances, step aside making way .. for what?
That is the question the athlete then has to answer, but at the same time look at reality: more often than not, he stands as a man with no higher education, having spent 25+ of his most productive years to perfecting a skillset which now is … useless…
Never again will he be cheered by crowds.
Probably nobody will care from now on.
And money right here is no factor, believe me. It doesn’t mean a thing if an athlete has earned enough money in their career to afford not to work a day from then on.
It is a void of meaning. And usually athletes that have earned tons of money, feel it the hardest.
So, it has nothing to do financially. It is a psychological crisis.
A clear progression of the Known being interrupted by the Unknown, leaving the individual in a storm.
I said something about a solution and here it is.
The only thing the athlete can do to face the moment when it arrives, is the thing he knows best to do; to be prepared.
It is simple, but hard too. When an athlete is on the peak of his powers and youth, it is normal not to concern himself that this situation will someday end.
But that is the first thing one must realize. It ends.
Don’t let it end with a big BOOM that will destroy everything.
That is the point of Athlete Legacy. To educate athletes about their strengths way beyond the sports field.
To understand their quality and bring their inner skills to construct their legacy in life after the sport.
The solution is the athlete as mediator between the Known and the Unknown, managing to have a smooth transition over the abyss of the void of losing identity. The solution is YOU.
Sounds terrifying? Well, it both is and isn’t.
It is if you don’t know what to do.
But we have that covered. Trust me.