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Published in Sports Management 30 May 2016 issue 121
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Clubs need to step up to support retiring athletes

‘Athletes need support when they retire’ / monkey business images / shutterstock
‘Athletes need support when they retire’/ monkey business images / shutterstock
Leon Lloyd,

Director,

Switch The Play


I’m fortunate to have had a long and successful professional rugby career. Of those lucky enough to have a professional sporting career, the majority will not choose how or when to end their career, and 90 per cent will need to begin a second career to ensure financial stability.

The mental struggles players go through during their departure from top-flight sport, I know only too well. This is backed up by a growing amount of empirical evidence (plus countless anecdotes of those who don’t want to come forward), of the negative impacts of transition, where effective support has not been in place.

This is an issue that affects a lot of people, and with the current government Duty of Care Review underway, the pressure is mounting for clubs and teams to step up and take this issue seriously.

Switch The Play works across all sports with organisations, practitioners, and athletes to put in place plans to help prepare for and manage effective transition.

The work we do raises a few common questions. Do organisations understand what good practice looks like? Is there clarity about where the duty of care both begins and ends?

There are important considerations for sporting organisations in terms of both helping athletes to better prepare for transition, and also coming through the other side of the change curve.
We are looking to work in partnership with all organisations with a duty of care in sport, and we are eager to raise awareness, share our collective experience, and drive a unified response to this vital agenda.

Sport England plan will be the catalyst for innovation

Russell Findlay,

Chief executive,,

Basketball Foundation


Jennie Price describes Sport England’s new strategy as “bold”.  Certainly the increased emphasis on inactive people is both bold and exciting.  It creates the biggest challenge yet to the sector to find new solutions to what are new challenges. Earmarking 20 per cent of funds for innovative and potentially game changing projects could be the element that is critical to the success of the whole strategy. 

My hope is that this gives all organisations the opportunity to answer some of the toughest questions facing our sector, in particular those risky projects with the biggest potential payback. One example facing the Basketball Foundation, is how we use an estimated hundred thousand outdoor courts to increase engagement in the sport in a sustainable way, particularly in areas of deprivation. 

The way the investment is managed is as important as the money itself. Research across NGBs and community sports organisations conducted this year highlighted the funding system itself as a key inhibitor to innovation.  This new strategy promises a move away from requiring instant success with established partners.

Emphasising continual learning will give entrepreneurial organisations a chance to test ideas, rather than feel pressure to have instant solutions.  This will foster risk taking and collaboration, the hallmarks of successful innovators.

For the first time it appears as though the foundations for a culture of innovation are being laid.

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