guest post from Adam Rouse
“It’s a million miles away from chasing a little red ball around a field for a living”
Last summer I decided to retire from Professional Cricket to pursue my dream of opening an F45 gym in London. And this decision didn’t come easy…
It wasn’t the first time I’ve had to imagine life outside of professional sport. In 2013 I was released from Hampshire, the county I grew up through the ages with. I was 21 and I didn’t have anything but 3 A Levels behind me, no dreams of a degree I wanted to pursue, and no other qualifications to my name. All I knew was professional sport and at that point that is all that I wanted to do. Nevertheless, with the PCA’s help and the fear of having nothing behind me, I threw myself into a personal training course and got myself qualified over the winter. After that, I promised myself that I would give it 2 years to see if I could get another contract, before I ‘faced the real world’.
Those years were a struggle, I managed to get a brief stint at Gloucestershire, but unfortunately that didn’t amount to anything concrete and so I was quickly forced to realise that cricket wasn’t going to be my long term career and I had to prepare myself for life outside of it.
“Today’s game is faster, more competitive, more public and more pressurised than ever before. Even the happiest professional career in cricket means long stretches away from home and financial uncertainty driven by short term contracts. The average cricket career comes to an end at the age of just 26” – PCA
Fortunately for me, just as I was accepting the reality of never being a professional cricketer again, I got a call from the head coach at Kent who wanted to sign me. Not only was this a huge relief, but when this next contract came around I was able to go into it with a completely different perspective and knowing that I had an eye on my future out of the game, I found myself playing my cricket with more freedom and with a lot more appreciation for my time as a professional cricketer.
I spent a number of winters playing in Cape Town, where I would always train at an F45 gym. I was immediately hooked from my first visit. The instant love I felt for the concept really lit a fire inside of me and in 2019 when I was exploring ideas for my future, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Lockdown then happened, and I had plenty of time to reevaluate what I wanted to do. After much deliberating, I decided to take the plunge to retire and follow my new dream of opening an F45.
I had already been proactively thinking about my next steps for several years, and the PCA’s focus in helping players think about their next steps, meant that this was a conversation I could continuously have with a player development manager. It was a really difficult decision to make. I had to be very real with myself and figure out where I saw myself in 5-10 years and ask myself if I was truly happy in my cricket career right now and how I wanted my life to be going forward. All of these questions played a big part in my decision to retire and I ultimately found myself waking up more excited about working on my F45 plans and my future than the thought of going to training each day.
This dream didn’t come out of nowhere though, I dabbled with a lot of things throughout my off- seasons which really helped me eliminate certain career paths. One year I was fortunate to attend a seminar through LAPS at the HSBC building and the insight I gained from it was invaluable. I hadn’t realised before that these large corporations actively seek ex-professional sports people because of the transferrable skills that they have gained within the sporting environment.
Over the last 5-10 years there has been a huge shift in mindset both from current players seeing the value in being pro active in their personal development whilst still in the game, and employers actively looking for ex-professional athletes to fill certain roles that previously required university degrees and/or years of experience. This is real credit to the work that the PCA and LAPS as well as other sporting governing bodies are doing.
I sincerely encourage any professional athletes to be proactive for their future. Complete courses, do some work experience, and network when you can. If it’s not for you that’s absolutely fine, but at least give it a try, because you never know what might ignite your flame. And if you’re interested in owning your own F45 gym like myself then go for it. Being part of this franchise is an incredible experience, the support, the community and the excitement on seeing a product work time and time again and change lives fills me with so much confidence knowing that what I am doing will really make a difference. Not only that, but finding something that will give me a bit of that special changing room buzz we all crave is an added bonus!
It’s a million miles away from chasing a little red ball around a field for a living, but the knowledge I have gained and challenges I have faced over the last year have been so rewarding. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Go and follow Adam’s studio on Instagram – @f45training_oldstreet