Hundreds of players are wondering even throughout their careers what they will do once it is over but also what they could do in case it suddenly ends, e.g. as a result of a serious injury. In theory, there are lots of opportunities, in reality however it often turns out that the given ex-footballer loses to someone with a bigger name or to another, more suitable or simply better connected, ex-pro. If by choice or lack thereof you elect to remain in the world of football, the following potential jobs await you: manager, assistant manager, goalkeeping coach, fitness coach, coach-analyst, scout, sporting director, youth coach or football agent.
At first glance this set of 10 options – different careers to choose from once your playing days are over – looks wonderful. However, when you consider the fact that there are at least several candidates for each position, things might start looking bleak and uncertain. You may also want to think about to what extent you want to be occupied at the weekend or spend a massive amount of time on the bus. Of course, some are ready to function like this. Others, however, will be put off these 8-10 options by the perspective of unsociable working hours, travel or moving the family to a very distant place.
The 11th option is becoming a mental coach. It greatly differs from the more popular options above. First of all – it is ok for you to work from home. Secondly, you may get to the match by your own car on the day of the event, instead of the team bus the day before. You may choose the age group you want to work with. I only work with the young footballers aged 14-15 and above and have a limited number of slots for them. One of the biggest differences is the possibility to work in several clubs in one season. To prove the point – a couple of facts. In the 2018/2019 season I worked in 4 clubs: one in the Ekstraklasa, one in the 1.Liga, two in the 2.Liga and one in the handball Superliga. In addition to this, I also conducted individual sessions online in accordance to my personal schedule. In the 2019/2020 season, there were 3 clubs, 2017/2018 – also 3 in the top three tiers. Obviously, it is up to you to decide your business strategy – how much you want to work and at what level. I am showing you what it has been like for me in the last couple of years.
What one needs to appreciate about working as a mental coach is the flexibility and choice. If you don’t want to travel across Poland or Europe – do private sessions online from the comfort of your family home or live sessions in the office of a nearby football community. At the same time you can work with the youth in the Football Academy. If you’re considering going on delegation from 6 to 15 times a month, you can easily cooperate on a permanent basis with two or even three clubs. Having this kind of a relationship with one club means I conduct between 30 and 40 sessions a month (which takes me from 4 to 6 days a month), watch 4 training sessions and 2 matches live. If you’re also running a separate business outside football, you may choose to do individual mental training for several footballers, e.g. juniors, to stay in touch in football while having an independent source of income.
If, however, you undertake work as a manager or assistant manager and will have to build your career from lower division clubs, the knowledge of individual mental training will allow you to develop particular players while the knowledge of group mental training to conduct efficient briefings as well as conscious and efficient team-building. All this without employing a separate mental coach (since it might not be included in the budget), which will be your advantage on the job market and let you keep up with the other candidates.
Mental training isn’t for everyone, just like running a team or fitness coaching are not for anyone who’s played football professionally. In my opinion, however, the job of a mental coach is a valuable option and provides strong security for a lot of current or ex-footballers.
With a sporting salutation,
Paweł Frelik, Mental Coach