Building connections when you stop competing.

Mandy Ayres – Co Founder of Brand You: Sport shares her insight into why Brand You: Sport are opening a virtual Club House. Making sure there is a safe, creative space for athletes who are thinking about what next can meet, share and build their ideas into a workable plan. Join her at on the 28th August and get involved

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”

– Oprah Winfrey

This quote really resonated when I thought back to the many conversations I have had over the past few years as I have listened to the experience of athletes as they have retired from elite competition. When athletes talk of their rise to the podium they mention how proud family and friends are of them. When they are introduced the emphasis is on their sporting prowess.

The halo of success touches everyone the athlete comes into contact with. Everyone is enjoying riding in the Limo – that includes team mates and fellow athletes. Team mates are the athletes best friends. They follow a strict schedule of training, diet and managing their down time. They experience so much together they become the default best friends – all riding in the limo of success.

When the Limo breaks down the athlete is usually alone. Retirement doesn’t happen for a whole squad or even for a duo used to competing together. They are left on the side of the road to figure out how they are going to get home and wondering what they are going to do next. This is where Brand You:Sport act as the google map. We work with the athlete to get them to the  best destination on a route that is most appropriate to them ensuring they get the right support along the way.

Our vision at Brand You:Sport is for the next generation of athletes to have a twin track approach to their sporting career. To always know that whilst being an athlete is a great experience that will never be replicated in the same way again there is true greatness waiting for them post their sporting career. A career that they will have prepared for whilst competing to enable a smooth transition.

This will be great for the next generation. But what about the here and now? What about the athletes who have just retired or are starting to think it could be this year or next? What about the athletes who have been hit by injury from out of the blue and realise that their career is over? The echo we heard from retired athletes was connection. They wanted to be with people in similar situations, they wanted to learn from each other and they wanted tangible tools and experiences to support them to transition out of competition. Our response has been to develop a virtual Club House. A place where athletes can connect with each other and extend their network to help shape their success post competing.

We are kick starting the process on the 28th August with a one day workshop where athletes who have either just retired or know it’s on the horizon can come together and work on their personal development plan with some clear goals, begin to build their brand and set themselves up for success. It doesn’t stop there. Once they leave they will have a follow up call to revisit their plan and coaching sessions over a 6month period to keep them on track. They will have access to the Club House and will work with us to shape the services specific to their needs. No-one will be left alone on the side of the road.

The virtual Club House is our reference to Oprah’s bus. The process will give athletes a clear map of where they are going and those sitting on the bus with them will be a cross section of old and new friends all committed and in a position to support athletes find true greatness in life.