Life after elite sports

Without matches

For Levente Szántai, a remark from a teammate meant the turning point: "Levi, you can listen the people so well, why don't you go to a psychologist?" She sat back at the school as a new father, so more efficient scheduling and planning in advance became essential. He also had to do the workouts more consciously, as he had less time left to perfect his movements after the trainings. He was able to be with his family, especially in the evenings. At home, he became a master of diaper changing, bathing and anesthesia.

“When I quit, the matches were missed the most. When you compete for your goal, it’s a wonderful feeling. I have just solved the workouts and I still do it to this day, mainly for recreational purposes. However, the spirit of competition is a key issue in living an athlete’s identity. During this period, the new professional challenges and the birth of my second child helped a lot. Having defended at a high level for more than 30 years, the credibility of my academic career as a psychologist has made it easier for me to perform my academic duties. However, this is not enough in the long run. We need to constantly improve ourselves so that we can innovate again and again, ”says the former football goalkeeper.

Love out of love

As a psychologist, Levente Szántai sees that the family has an important role to play in shaping a dual career. In addition, coaches must also accept that the athlete can be there for less training during the school exercises or even during the exam period. The expert emphasizes that it is also important to convey the values ​​of endurance, commitment, creativity or autonomy during training.

“Whether the athlete has a profession or some qualification, or practical experience in another area of ​​life. It’s a less good strategy to start thinking about this towards at the end of the athlete’s career. An injury can interfere at any time, so it’s worth continuing your studies after graduation. When I had a harder period in my career, it was in the deck that I would be a bartender. I was ready to switch if that turned out. Always have a plan B! ” Says the elite athlete, becoming a psychologist.

After elite sports, the frustration previously released on a daily basis accumulates. Therefore, it is not recommended that athletes leave workouts overnight. If only for recreational purposes, it is worth playing two or three times a week. In addition, new goals are needed in civil life, the realization of which can be challenging and requires perseverance. Furthermore, the supportive environment is important, be it family, friends, or even former sports-mate. These factors can even appear as a preventative factor against the development of depression. “When a professional athlete finishes elite sports, he or she can frame his or her career by thanking you for the values ​​you get from competitive sports, which you will be able to capitalize on in your everyday life. It can provide an ideal transition if the former competitor can stay close to the sport in some form. That way he can still stay with the great love of his life, and as they say: >>“Love will soften into love after a while <<” he adds.

(Source: KépMás magazine 2022/01, Fruzsina Szabó)

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