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The Life of a Post-Sport Infant

Updated: Jun 5

Boom - the day is here, and your playing days are behind you. You should be excited because this marks the beginning of your post-sport infancy.


“Post-Sport Infant” is a term our guest, Kelsey Bickley, introduced on our podcast. This term is perfect because while the struggles after graduating often overlap between students and student-athletes, the differences are often overlooked.


For example, you had your daily schedule and structure laid out for years. Games, practices, workouts, study hall, and classes filled your day. Whatever time you had left was dedicated to basic living needs, such as eating, sleeping, or relaxing (for some, that includes screaming at a screen while your KD tanks on Call of Duty). 


Most importantly, being a post-sport infant is literally all about “re-learning” how to live. Sure, you’re not learning how to walk, speak, etc., but you are adapting to significant lifestyle changes and experiencing greater autonomy for the first time in a long time (or for the first time for some). Today, let’s examine some of the tallest hurdles post-sport infants face.


Goal setting & follow-through.

I cannot stress this issue enough. While often overlooked, this comes with gaining that “freedom.” Think about it—your personal goals were likely tied to your performance and athletic achievements for years. 


Aside from wanting that “All” next to your name (All-Conference, All-American, etc.), your goals always had some motivating factor pulling or pushing you. 


Whether that was more playing time or making a name for yourself, if your output was less than the standard necessary to achieve those goals, there was always the offset chance of losing playing time, your spot on the depth chart, or your spot on the team. 


Now, that motivation is on you. No one will hold you accountable—not your coaches, teammates, or strength coaches. 


Once you accept that this life stuff is truly on you, you will realize how quickly you can slip if you do not hold yourself accountable. 


To do so, I recommend breaking up large goals into milestones and scheduling self-check-ins. For example, if you want to lose 50 pounds by the year’s end, break it into five ten-pound milestones. Setting milestones gives you a more precise picture of the work that you must put in.


Most importantly—and I mean this in the most caring way possible—you must accept that your success, happiness, and security depend solely on you. You are your priority. 


Daily schedule/structure.

This is a given. I am sure many of you remember (or are dealing with it now) how packed our schedules were. If you are crazy like me, you thrive in situations where every day is hectic—something about having to think on the fly and make all the parts of your day fit. The beauty of this all is that my classes and football structured it. 


Now? Ha. As I’ve said before, this is on you now, and I guarantee it will be one of the most frustrating experiences as a post-sport infant. So, where do we start?


First, write down a list of your life priorities — keep it to four at the most. This can include your career, fitness, family, or whatever takes a portion of your day. Underneath each priority, write down two to three specific sub-priorities. For example, for fitness, my sub-priorities are tracking calories and working out daily. 


After identifying your priorities and sub-priorities, take a blank weekly schedule and fill it in with your priorities. For example, I work in the evenings, so my fitness priorities are met at 6 p.m. After that, fill the gaps with non-negotiable items such as sleep, eating, and breaks.  


I cannot stress this enough—this is on you. A system is only as good as its operator; it will crumble if you do not maintain this process. 


Conclusion.

Remember one thing: life is all about trial and error. We don’t have the blueprint—no, no, better yet, you are the author of said blueprint. Don’t let this responsibility make you overlook the fact that you will make mistakes. You should hold yourself accountable and learn. But that’s all there is to it—no need to beat yourself up, attach yourself to negative thinking, or believe it will never work out because it will. 

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