Let’s talk about Kobe.
I’m sure you’ve seen by now that at the end of this season, Kobe Bryant is going to retire from professional basketball. He announced it in a poem for The Players’ Tribune:
This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.
Kobe is thirty-seven years old.
Not too many people can say they’re ready to retire before they’re forty. My parents certainly didn’t. I don’t plan to – and I’m sure you’re not, either.
But whether your last game will be this year, or your senior year of college, or has already happened because of an injury, what’s important to remember is that there will always be life after college athletics.
(And look at what Kobe said above. Even a superstar like Kobe eventually feels the betrayal of his body. If you get injured it’s nothing to be ashamed of. You just need to come back from it the right way.)
We recently listed some great majors to consider to stay in the world of sports. Here are some other areas to focus your attention — I know, in addition to all the focus you have to give to your schoolwork, to training, and to still try to keep a regular social life — to lay the groundwork for a life after you’re actively participating in your sport.
Life after college athletics depends on your grades.
You know this already. Focusing on your grades and your SAT/ACT scores will set you up better than anything to find a great school and education, where you can earn a meaningful degree. I won’t hammer on this — I’m sure your parents do already, right?
But remember: Even though some programs, like NCAA’s Division III schools, can’t offer athletic scholarships, coaches at those schools can absolutely help you through the admissions process so you can be considered for merit-based scholarships.
Develop hobbies now you can pursue after athletics.
How many times have you heard (or said!) “Volleyball is life” or “Softball is life” or “Football is life”?
I totally get it – everyone who works at NCSA Athletic Recruiting has said the same.
But no matter how much you love your sport, there’ll be a time when you transition in it – whether it’s from a playing role to a coach role, as Amanda Scarborough often describes, or whether it’s from playing your sport to becoming a nationally-recognized commentator, like Jessica Mendoza did.
Or whether it’s paying it forward to help the next generation of athletes develop their love of the game, as so many of us at NCSA have done.
Trying out different hobbies now will allow you to use diverse skills later, whether it’s because you’re talented at writing like Amanda or are charismatic on camera. Maybe you secretly love math and can make a living at it, like Nate Silver.
Our passion for sports defines us, but our other projects and hobbies are what make us deeply unique and interesting.
Our scouts would love to chat with you about what makes you unique for a college roster opening in your sport. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.