NextPlay encourages all athletes to pursue their professional dreams in sports, but we also recognize the value of preparing for the professional world beyond sports. In this episode, we chat with Lauren Whyte, who managed to spend five seasons playing professional volleyball AFTER taking a two-year job at the Federal Reserve to solidify her resume. Her path may seem unconventional, but it allowed her to fulfill her professional volleyball dreams while getting primed for immediate success after sports.
Whether we like it or not, we all have biases in our lives and we all face biases in our lives. Some biases are helpful- they allow us to categorize information and make quick decisions- while others can be extremely harmful as we have seen across our country in recent weeks. In this episode, we speak with Jarrod Barnes about two particular types of biases that impact athletes as they transition into the professional world: athlete stigmas and agism. Jarrod has become an expert on this topic through his experience as a football player and coach at Ohio State, a student-athlete development professional at Clemson, and now the Manager of Former Player Marketing and Services with the LA Rams organization.
Athletes face a variety of unique obstacles in the job search. Their schedules are packed with a full-time job, they often are not able to gain job experience like their peers, and they must engage in a major identity shift in order to successfully transition. In this episode, Megan Lancaster tells her gritty job-search story and demonstrates how a little bit of resourcefulness and creative thinking can help athletes to overcome some of the challenges that they face in landing an entry-level job.
One of the most common questions that we get from athletes is about how to find something they will be as passionate about as they are about sports. In this episode, we speak to Bill Mayew about how passion develops as a result of effort and energy. After a successful basketball career, Bill developed his passion for accounting, which many would consider to be an unlikely pursuit for an athlete.
We spend a lot of time on this podcast talking about transitioning out of sports, but in this episode we spend a little bit of time talking about transitioning in. We talk to Morgan Ferrara about her failed transition into college soccer and red flags that you can look for to make your transitions smooth. With transfers becoming more and more common- and with all athletes eventually transitioning into the working world- knowing how to transition into a new organization is a must for all of us.
In the past, athletes were told to 'stick to sports' if they wanted to be great. Today, we see athletes who are able to do both: achieve greatness in their chosen sport while leveraging their success to make a broader societal impact. In this episode, we talk to Imani McGee-Stafford about how becoming a top ten pick in the WNBA Draft gave her a platform to have an impact that extends far beyond the court.
Athletes are expected to pour time and energy into their sport and into their studies; there isn't much time left for anything else. But what if a side hustle- and the personal exploration that comes with it- could actually make you perform better in those areas of focus? In this episode, we speak with Sebastian Little about how he discovered new interests while playing football at Yale and how he has found a way to work those passions into his professional life in the form of side hustles.
We hear from many athletes who are concerned that they will never find a purpose once their playing days are over. After pouring so much into sports, how can you find purpose in what is next? In this episode, we hear from Chris Spatola, who not only believes that you can find purpose in whatever you do but has done it himself. From basketball star at Army to active duty in Iraq to calling games for ESPN, Chris has found purpose in new places throughout his journey and shares some ideas to help you do the same.
Welcome to Bigger Than Sports! Each week, we will interview athletes, coaches, and experts to help us unpack a particular topic that today's athletes are grappling with. We are here to help you understand that who you are and what you do is Bigger Than Sports.