Help Olympians Help Themselves says Switch the Play

Olympians and elite athletes need educating about transferable skills earlier in their careers so that transition out of sport is a positive experience, says Switch the Play.

Leon Lloyd Director

20 Sep Help Olympians Help Themselves says Switch The Play

In the wake of Michael Phelp’s admission about suffering mental health issues during and after his phenomenal Olympic success, Leon Lloyd, CEO of Switch the Play (StP) says the solution lays in key stakeholders investing in the education of athletes early in their careers to ensure they are fully prepared to transition into a life outside of sport.

Leon will join Michael and other thought leaders: including government officials, policy makers and change agents, at the 2nd Global Summit on Mental Health Culture Change which takes place at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), on 11th and 12th October. The London Summit will focus on mental health and emotional well-being, and how to remove cultural bias that prevents individuals discussing it and reaching out for help.

Leon says, “Mental health in sport has been driven up the agenda thanks to high profile athletes such as Michael openly discussing their personal experiences. There is a change in attitude within sport and UK Sport’s recent public consultation into the distribution of funding for elite athletes provides the perfect opportunity for a real investment in the support and education of athletes.

(Read StP’s response to the UK Sport Public Consultation here)

“At StP we champion the strategy for equipping athletes early in their career with knowledge and understanding about how the skills they gain through training and competing are transferable. For example, the principles of goal setting, teamwork, emotional resilience and personal discipline are the keys to success in any sphere of life; athletes just need to know how to apply them.”

Leon and his colleagues at StP speak out of experience, with a board made up mainly of former elite athletes and Olympians, including England’s most successful gymnast, Beth Tweddle, and former Scottish Badminton Player, Emma Mason, it works with key stakeholders in sport to put an end to the number of athletes who have a negative experience after ending their careers.

Leon continues, “Transitioning out of sport can be an exciting time for an athlete. Beth, Emma and I have each made the journey into fulfilling careers outside sport and are passionate about working collaboratively with sporting organisations and athletes to help others do the same.”

To read more about StP and its partnerships, visit

If you are an athlete or an organisation interested in finding out how you could work with Switch the Play, please email