Former handball player 

Mathias Kasapidis 

‘As eli­te ath­le­tes, you have a who­le ran­ge of attri­bu­tes that few other can­di­da­tes can offer. Tho­se attri­bu­tes will open the right doors for you!’

After I reti­red from sport, I mana­ged the last hand­ball club I’d play­ed for – GC Amic­i­tia Zürich – for a year. I fol­lo­wed that up with a six-mon­th stint at a mar­ke­ting agen­cy. Then, at the end of 2020, the posi­ti­on at the Sport Aca­de­my Zürich ope­ned up.

I ended up get­ting that job becau­se I’d alrea­dy had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to make tho­se all-important con­nec­tions at the first Ath­le­tes Day. Dave Hei­ni­ger was one of tho­se con­nec­tions. We stay­ed in touch spo­ra­di­cal­ly and tal­ked about the various chan­ges and deve­lo­p­ments going on at the Ath­le­tes Net­work. One day, I gave Dave a call to ask his opi­ni­on on a job I’d been offe­red. He shared his thoughts with me in an honest and open con­ver­sa­ti­on.

It just so hap­pen­ed that Dave had come across the job advert for Sport Aca­de­my Zürich the very same day, so he sug­ge­sted I check it out. The Ath­le­tes Net­work sub­mit­ted my app­li­ca­ti­on docu­ments to Sport Aca­de­my Zürich, and – several inter­views and one assess­ment later, I was even­tual­ly offe­red the job.

I found myself facing a brand-new chal­len­ge becau­se I’d never worked in edu­ca­ti­on befo­re; the only work expe­ri­ence on my CV was more in the com­mer­cial field.
And yet I mana­ged to impress the right peop­le during the inter­views at the Sport Aca­de­my Zürich. The exper­ti­se I’d picked up from the world of work defi­ni­te­ly hel­ped to some extent, but my per­so­nal values and the skills I’d learnt first-hand at the sporting school of hard knocks were even more important.

Spe­ci­fi­cal­ly, when I talk about the sporting school of hard knocks, I mean that’s whe­re the athlete’s mind­set comes from.
For me, that mind­set encom­pas­ses values like com­mit­ment and pas­si­on, struc­tu­re and disci­pli­ne, and team spi­rit, which is the most important of all.

If you’re an ath­le­te about to make the move into a care­er out­side the world of sport, I’d recom­mend con­cen­tra­ting on the strengths and skills you’ve picked up from sport, rather than.your lack of prac­ti­cal expe­ri­ence. You have a who­le ran­ge of attri­bu­tes that few other can­di­da­tes can offer. Tho­se attri­bu­tes will open the right doors for you!

If the­re are any busi­nes­ses out the­re thin­king about employ­ing ath­le­tes, I just want to rei­tera­te that ath­le­tes learn how to show com­mit­ment and disci­pli­ne in their work, how to focus on the right things, and what it means to work effec­tively as part of a team – regard­less of whe­ther they play­ed as part of a team during their sporting care­ers. An athlete’s mind­set is uni­que, and it’s a valu­able asset – you won’t be disap­poin­ted as an employer.