Past Player Survey 2013

In March 2013, a comprehensive survey of our past players, who spanned between the ages of 22 and 82, unearthed a range of very important results and key findings which current and future professional cricketers will be able to learn from to ensure that they are well equipped, not only for their cricketing careers, but as importantly, their careers after cricket. 

Please see the full results from the survey below:

Please note the following headline findings: 

  • Just about half of players were proactive in planning for their future, so the remaining half need a nudge without affecting their cricketing aspirations!
  • Players who sought help whilst playing said their transition period out of the game was better
  • 34% of players did not feel in control of their lives 2 years after they finished playing
  • 88% of players needed to find work after playing
  • 70% of players said that their families had the most influence on them, followed by the PCA  
  • 5% of players admitted to suffering mental health problems
  • 79% of players said they were happy with their life nowadays. 

It’s clear that our ongoing work within the Personal Development and Welfare Programme can act as a vital preventative, planning and building block which can help to limit the clear problems that arise during transitions out of cricket, within the first two years. 

As part of the survey, we asked the past players an open question on what advice they would offer to those cricketers following in their footsteps. 

We’ve collated their answers below in Top Ten Tips:

1. Think Ahead/Plan/Prepare                                               

2. Gain Experience/Qualifications 

3. Use The PCA

4. Appreciate Your Playing Days

5. Make Contacts/Network/Take Advice

6. Behaviour

7. Cricket Isn’t Everything/You Are A long Time Retired

8. Use Your Experience

9. Look After Your Money

10. Seek A Career/Pastimes Outside of Cricket


1. Think Ahead/Plan/Prepare

It’s never too early to plan – planning for life after cricket is very important as you never know when your professional career might end through injury or your contract not being renewed. Be prepared for any eventuality and have a ‘plan B’. Don’t waste the winters – you will never have as much free time as you do when you’re a professional cricketer. Spend this time learning about the real world, because retirement arrives sooner than you think!

Advice from past players…

“Make sure you plan whilst you’re playing. This doesn’t guarantee that you settle into another career straight away, but it will give you a fighting chance and help you improve your transferable skills. It’s never too early to plan.”

“Think fully about your future while you’re playing so that you have a direction and options when your time comes. It’s too easy to get caught up in the excitement of professional sport.”

“Plan! Cricket is a wonderful career, but finite. Make sure you have a good idea of an alternative career after cricket before you actually finish. This will take huge pressure off in the latter stages of your playing career. Remember, only a limited few have a ‘job for life’ in cricket – coaching, media etc.”

“It’s too easy not to plan, so make sure you do. Cricket is a bubble which does not prepare you for life outside of it, which can be enormously different – so you need to be prepared.”

“It’s mentally tough whenever you finish playing, regardless of the level of success or length of your career. It is difficult to plan for life after cricket, but it is essential as your career will and sometimes does end when least expected. Your day in the limelight quickly disappears and it can be a lonely period in your life when your career ends – don’t be afraid to lean on friends and family for support to get you through it.”

 

2. Gain Experience/Qualifications

Try to get qualifications or work experience, specifically in a field that you enjoy. It’s advisable to have finished your education (gained GCSEs and A Levels/NVQs) before turning professional. Try as many different occupations as you can before you qualify – you don’t want to be stuck in a job that you hate. Work experience is invaluable – once you’ve retired you’re a ‘nobody’ again, so you will need to start from the bottom – and therefore will need work experience or qualifications. There are very few cricketers that can make a career out of cricket after retirement, so make sure you are qualified enough to take the next step in your life. Try to get qualifications and any experience before your career ends to make the transition between playing and retirement smoother.

Advice from past players…

 “Have a clear idea as to what career you would like to pursue before your cricket career has ended and make sure you plan in terms of the education and qualifications required. Also, try and get some experience in this field before finishing.”

“I’d advise players to make sure they have at least A Levels before going pro. Having a degree helped me to get straight into work when my contract wasn’t renewed.”

“Try as many occupations as you can to get a feel for what you might enjoy, and then focus as much as you can on qualifying.”

“Take every opportunity that arises which is of interest to you. If there are none, then get out and create your own opportunities. Keep on learning as much as you can about various subjects which you feel will help you. The two most important things in life are health and education.”

“Make the most of the off season. Get things in place for the future early on. Network, get qualifications and work experience. Live in the moment but plan for the future.”

 

3. Use The PCA

Make the most of all resources available to you via the PCA. Many retired cricketers weren’t lucky enough to have these facilities at their disposal. You may not think you need the PCA’s help, but retirement can be a real shock to the system and a difficult transition. Use all the support and advice available to you.

Advice from past players…

 “Look into the services on offer from the PCA and plan thoroughly with Personal Development and Welfare (PDW) well in advance of retirement. Use the services to become more qualified and employable for the years ahead.”

“Prepare for retirement as early as possible and make use of the fantastic support from the PCA. When leaving the professional game, the whole pattern of your life changes – but with good advice and support the transition can be a relatively smooth one.”

“Make use of the services available from the PCA, which were not available during my playing days their support is invaluable.”

“Seek help early if you feel like your life is spiralling out of control. If it does, the PCA have access to skilled professionals that can help you turn it around.”

 

4. Appreciate Your Playing Days

Appreciate your days as a pro cricketer. You’ve managed to spend time doing something you love for a living, when many others don’t have that chance. You probably won’t experience the closeness of the friendships that you have in cricket again, so cherish these moments. Cricket is the best time of your life! Training and matches is not hard work compared to a full-time ‘normal’ job, so appreciate the time you spent playing and make the most of it. Come away from the game with no regrets. 

Advice from past players…

 “Appreciate the time you spend doing something you love – millions of people don’t have that choice!!”

“Enjoy and savour every moment of your playing career with zero regrets; show respect for the sport and what it means to so many others. Plan forward for your days after cricket – aim to be in control of your own destiny as much as you can. Despite all the memories, don’t spend too much time looking back. Love what you do and value what you can contribute!”

“Enjoy every moment, work hard and do as  much as you can. Don’t think nets, training or a four day game is hard work. It’s easy compared to real life and real work. Only a few of you will be able to retire and not have to work, so think about what you want to do when you finish and try to get a job doing something you like doing. Being a cricketer is the best job in the world – respect it, but be sure you have planned for the second innings.”

“Do something while you’re still playing that makes you realise how fortunate you are to do waht you love for a living– love for the game is so easily forgotten when you’re in it.”

 “I would encourage players to take advantage of their privileged position and value networking with businesses and professionals whilst still playing. Cricket is amazing for life experiences, making friends and shared experiences. Never take it for granted, leave no stone unturned in the quest for success or personal and professional betterment. If it all should end, look back with fondness and be thankful for the enjoyment, experiences and friendships that the profession has given you. Many wealthy and successful individuals you will meet during and after your career would trade places in a heartbeat – It is better to have played and lost than never played at all!’’

 

5. Make Contacts/Network/Take Advice

Make as many contacts as you can during your career, as they may be able to help you when you retire. Network and meet as many people as you can, you never know what opportunities they could bring. Try to make contacts both inside and outside of the game. Also, talk to past players about their life after cricket and take their advice – maybe even seek a mentor. There is no shame in asking for help. Speak to the people closest to you and don’t bottle things up. The PCA have access to trained professionals that you can talk to – so speak up!

Advice from past players…

 “During your playing days, most people get so caught up in the ‘me’ and ‘now’ that they don’t plan for the future or realise the importance of building relationships with sponsors and companies who might be able to offer them work opportunities later in life. Take the opportunity to work for companies during the winter months and build relations with anyone and everyone.”

 “Try to make as many contacts in the business community as possible whilst playing to open doors in the future.”

“Network at every available opportunity, you never know what doors will open after your career ends.”

 “No matter what you think life will be like after you finish playing, there will always be surprising emotions and challenges ahead of you. Talk to people and don’t bottle your emotions up by trying to soldier on on your own.”

“Talk to family and friends about how you feel. Sometimes they don’t understand what you are going through, so talk to past players or the PCA to help you on your way. Financially it’s hard for players who haven’t been fortunate enough to have a benefit to help give them financial stability, but you’re not on your own.”

“Talk to someone you respect and trust about the importance of knowing and understanding yourself and the positive effect of the humility, personal confidence and moral courage that flows from that understanding. Getting a job is a full-time job in itself – Monday to Friday, 9 to 5.”

 

6. Behaviour

Make sure you are kind and courteous to everyone you meet, you never know when you might need their help. Try to maintain a professional attitude throughout your cricketing career so that people perceive you well in the future. Try to keep a positive mental attitude – this is vital in any walk of life.

Advice from past players…

 “Be polite and helpful during your playing days as people you may need will remember you if you were rude and obnoxious.”

“Make sure that your actions as a sportsman make you hireable after you finish. Too many sportsmen make themselves unemployable by their behaviour while being a sportsman.”

“Always maintain a positive attitude. With the right attitude and enthusiasm, anything can be achieved.”

 

7. Cricket Isn’t Everything/You Are A long Time Retired

There is more to life than cricket, so don’t think your career lasts forever and that your life is over when you retire. If you put as much into your new career as you did with cricket, you can find it just as rewarding. Cricket will always be part of your life, but it isn’t the only thing. Think of your playing career as simply a stepping stone to working life. You’re a lot longer retired than you are a professional cricketer, so make sure you get a job you enjoy doing, because you could be doing it for a long time.

Advice from past players…

 “Your life isn’t over. There is so much more to life than cricket. If you apply yourself in the same way as you did with your cricket career, you could surpass your previous achievements.”

“Think about what you like to do apart from playing sport – you spend a long time in work, so do something that you enjoy. It’s not all about the money – it’s about enjoying life and not how much you get paid.”

“Do the maths – you’ll be working in a different career for a lot longer than you’ll be playing. Take it seriously and work out what you want to do, not just what you could do.”

“Life after playing can become equally satisfying as being a cricketer, or even more so. Accept that playing doesn’t last forever and that there is much to enjoy and explore in the years to come. Have an open mind to what the future holds and go for it.”

“Don’t be precious about your career. By the time you reach retirement age, it should just be another job on your CV. Don’t be ‘defined’ by playing the game.”

 

8. Use Your Experience

You learn and develop many valuable skills as a cricketer – for example, teamwork, leadership, communication and organisational skills. These are invaluable in other working environments. Use other cricketing-specific skills to gain qualifications such as coaching and umpiring. Use everything you have learnt, develop it and look forward to your future.

Advice from past players…

 “Never underestimate your value as a pro sportsman. You have great skills and work ethic that can give you success in other walks of life.”

“Don’t think that staying in sport is the only option. The skills learnt from playing at a high level are transferable and can be applied in many professions.”

“Use the skills that made you a pro in the first place in the real world!”

“Enjoy and be proud of playing professional sport and accept that it is not the end of the world when you finish. Professional sport gives you skills that can be used in the real world. Recognise them and develop them.”


9. Look After Your Money

Money doesn’t last forever so make sure you look after it. Put some aside for retirement as a ‘safety net’ or ‘launching pad’. It may seem a long way off, but you also need to start thinking about your pension. Once you’ve retired, you may not be able to afford the same pattern of spending/lifestyle if your next job isn’t as financially rewarding. Ensure that you budget well enough during your career to avoid getting into debt after retirement.

Advice from past players…

 “Plan the career path you want to take and ensure that you have the funds to support yourself until you earn enough – don’t get in debt.”

“Set realistic financial levels of living so you can sustain the lifestyle you desire as a cricketer and continue on to your second career without downsizing and restrictions.”

“Try to make sure that you are financially stable at the end of your career, especially if you just miss out on things like benefits. Jobs that you take after cricket may not be as financially rewarding as the game, so if you are in a pattern of spending and have a certain lifestyle, this may have to change.”

“You are well paid for playing – look after your money and think about the future as you will have a long life after cricket.”

 

10. Seek A Career/Pastimes Outside of Cricket

Seek a fresh new career outside of the game. Broaden your horizons – it can help give you perspective. A pastime away from the sport can be a great distraction and an alternative career can help to give your mind another focus. This will allow you not to compare your two careers – they are different parts of your life but neither is less important.

Advice from past players…

 “I would encourage seeking a life outside of cricket for a fresh start. This allows volunteering in cricket to be fun and fulfilling.”

“Prepare in advance so that the transition happens naturally. Find some other things you are good at and enjoy so you have something to occupy your mind other than cricket. This also builds your overall confidence.”

“Be curious about life, engage in self-development, educate yourself, learn, and expand your horizons culturally and intellectually. Pursue your interests  outside of cricket. This will not detract from your performance on the field – on the contrary, it will give you perspective, liberate you and actually help you perform better!”