SPORTS

Life After Rugby

  In this new day and age, rugby players need to change their way of thinking and not only plan out their rugby career but also their life after rugby.
06 Jan 2017 13:32
Life After Rugby
Rugby Academy Fiji Director Seremaia Bai during the launch of the Academy yesterday.Photo:Vilimoni Vaganalau.

 

In this new day and age, rugby players need to change their way of thinking and not only plan out their rugby career but also their life after rugby.

These were the sentiments shared by former Flying Fijians pivot Seremaia Bai, who is the founder of the new Rugby Academy Fiji, which was launched in Wailada, Lami, yesterday.

The main focus of the academy is to not only develop players but to also train them and change their way of thinking to also think about life after they retire from their profession.

Bai said players did not know the tough transition from being a rugby player to living a normal life with normal pay. The academy will be a way to educate players to prepare for life after rugby and have a smooth transition into a normal life.

“I am not doing this academy as a normal academy, this will be a high performance academy and it has got to start with the mindset,” Bai said.

“My biggest advice to players overseas and locally, never ever use rugby to get a lot of money, use rugby to become a better person.

“At the end of the day rugby will be finished, no one can play rugby for the rest of their lives so the question is, what after rugby?

“When we play and wear the Fiji jumper once we leave, no one cares because they have no idea the transition from being a professional rugby player to living a normal life.

“That is something I am trying to educate these younger players on, which is they have to prepare for life after rugby. There is a big difference when you are getting $10,000 a month to maybe $1000 if you are lucky and that is the reality.

“I can guarantee that most of the professional rugby players are struggling. Almost 80 per cent of them are struggling, it is sad but that is the truth.

“There is a transition from playing rugby to after you retire, the salary will not be the same and if you do not have a set plan, things can get stressful.

“While you are playing rugby you need to invest and save as much as possible because 10 years is the maximum number of years a person is able to play rugby. You need to think about the rest of your life.

“Nothing is ever guaranteed in rugby, every player is just one training session away from getting injured. And once you are injured your value drops and it will be difficult to get back on track.”

Setting up the rugby academy is Bai’s way of giving back to the community.

Nutrition, conditioning

He wants to educate players on the importance of proper nutrition and having the right environment to grow.

“I think this is something that we are lacking, strength and conditioning, also the mentality of the players,” he said.

“You not only need to train to be fitter but you need to be smart. I realised, in Fiji when the Fijian players go overseas they become more muscular because of the environment they are in, they eat properly at the right times and they sleep well, they are training the way they should be training.

“I think this is the one thing we are lacking which is technical thinking, it comes with a good mindset.

“This is a big thing for me, we have natural talent and if we educate players on what recovery is, what nutrition is and how to eat properly and stay hydrated and also getting the right amount of sleep, we could see a big change.

“Rugby is not only about results and playing on the field, it is more than that. What I teach  the young children these days is don’t train for rugby, train for life. Not everything is about rugby because once rugby is finished most people stop training.”

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback: justine.mannan@fijisun.com.fj

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