Use the skills you’ve gained

Rachael Lynch has been stopping the world’s best hockey players from finding the net ever since she first stepped between the posts for the Australian team in 2006. And now, the 204-cap veteran is hoping to help the next generation do just the same. Rachael established STOMP Goalkeeping in 2018 to offer online training for budding hockey goalkeepers in Australia and beyond, while at the same time providing herself with a new business to focus on when her own career eventually comes to an end.

  • Rachael Lynch has been a goalkeeper for the Australian hockey team since 2006
  • As she nears the end of her own career, she has developed an online training programme for young goalkeepers as a way to help nurture the next generation, and provide a new income stream for herself
  • Read her story and then explore how you could make the most of your skills with the Athlete365 Business Accelerator

I’ve been a goalkeeper with the Australian team for about 13 years, and I’ve done a little bit of coaching along the way. I’ve always felt there was a real need for good support and coaching for young goalkeepers because it’s a very specialised position and there aren’t many people who have the skills and expertise in that area. That means the majority of kids come through their career without any specialist coaching.

Being based in Western Australia with the Australian team, I don’t get much time to do face-to-face coaching, but with the technology that’s around today I saw an opportunity to set up an online business where I could provide a platform for kids – or goalkeepers of any age – to watch and learn from my videos. It’s been so satisfying to hear from kids who have done the drills and tried their new skills in a game. They’re learning new things and its great to get that positive feedback.

From a business perspective, it’s also been a real learning curve for me. Here are some of the things I’ve learnt along the way…

Remote control

Part of the reason I set STOMP up as an online programme was to allow me to do it remotely.I’d love to spend time coaching all the kids face to face, but I’ve tried to set it up on a platform that allows me to coach them whether I’m in Europe playing in a tournament, or training here in Perth. Wherever I am in the world I can still be running the business. I’m also coming towards the end of my career, so life after sport is something I need to consider. With STOMP being online, it is an avenue I can potentially still pursue while I’m pregnant or even when I have kids.

Team support

I couldn’t have gone into this without the support of my brother. He has had quite a lot of experience in small business and is a bit of an entrepreneur himself. That made it a lot less daunting than jumping into it by myself. He’s taken care of the tech side of things, so I’ve just had to learn about running a business day-to-day and the way it operates. He’s educated me on things like bookkeeping and he’s a tough teacher, but he also tries to empower me so that I can do it myself. It’s been great to be able to lean on him and learn from him. He’s helped with so many parts of business, teaching me so that I don’t make the same mistakes that he made early on. I think that’s been a big part of the business’s success.

Networks work

I understand networking isn’t for everyone, but I love that sort of stuff. When I enter a room full of people I don’t know, I love going around chatting to them and learning things. I think all athletes need to maximise those opportunities because you never know where they might lead or when those contacts may be able to help you in the future. I’ve relied on people in my network for help with filming and advertising, and then I can hopefully give back to those people with tickets to a game or something like that. I try to maximise those relationships because there are plenty of people who have more skills than I do in lots of different areas, so utilising them makes sense and, I suppose, makes the business more powerful.

Learn as you go

Athletes should immerse themselves in new things, take the opportunity to explore what they like and then find a way to use the skills they’ve gained as athletes to create a career out if it. I didn’t get a business degree at university, but I’ve learnt plenty of things along the way from the people around me and combined everything to run my own business.

Monetise your skills

Coaching is not for everyone; just because you play a sport and you’re good at a sport doesn’t mean you want to coach it. But if you’re passionate about your sport, there will be a way that you can give back it while also monetising your skills. You are an expert in the field, so why wouldn’t you try to help out the up-and-coming kids who are trying to achieve the same dreams that you did?

Inspired by Rachael’s story and looking for a place to start your own business adventure? It’s never too early to start thinking about a career after sport. The Athlete365 Business Accelerator will help you develop your own personal business plan from idea to reality, starting with a step-by-step, free-to-use online course.