Using a coaching programme based on choice theory, assisted by experienced psychologists, we empower athletes to design and pursue new career opportunities.

Coaching athletes on their transition from a sports career to a new path

Target Group

Top professional athletes who have retired from their athletic careers in the past year.


Empower sportsmen and women to design and pursue new career paths and explore new opportunities.

Model of coaching according to the theory of choice

This model of coaching encourages former sportsmen and women to take the reins of their own lives. They learn what is in their power, what their beliefs and expectations are, and how to put what they have learned into practice. They do this by choosing more effective behaviours in pursuit of their own aims. The coach's job is to guide, encourage, and enable the athlete to make effective and consistent changes when needed.


The coaching programme for an individual athlete lasts a maximum of six months and includes 10 coaching sessions of 60 to 90 minutes long.


The coaching is carried out by experienced psychologists from our partner company, Competo d.o.o.

Programme objectives

How do Vitae+ Foundation coaches help former elite sportsmen and women transition to a new path?

How to understand and take responsibility for our own choices.

Distinguish and choose between what will bring immediate pleasure and what will bring even greater pleasure later (i.e. devotion, perseverance, and delayed gratification).

Uncovering the obstacles we set for ourselves and how to effectively break them down.

Understand the power of our own perceptions and how we can change them.

Expand thinking about what is compatible (two options need not be incompatible – perhaps we can combine them into a third option; a shift from thinking about forced choice to combining options).

Setting the steps on the way to the goal so they are manageable while still being challenging.

Accept other people for who they are.

Seek balance (everything has a good side and a bad side; we encourage the sportsman to look for positives in challenges).

Finding the link between behaviour and progress (does behaviour bring progress?).

Assess what the athlete needs and wants (i.e. how strong their needs are).

How did we set up the programme? 


The challenges for athletes embarking on a new career path are great. To get concrete information about the challenges sports professionals face and how they feel, we conducted in-depth interviews with eight former elite athletes in spring 2019 with our partner company, Competo d.o.o. The data served as the starting point for designing an athlete support programme.

What were our key findings?

Testimonials about the programme

I support and appreciate any support and help for top athletes at the end of their sports careers. Individual, holistic support for athletes in the form of a personal coach can make it even easier for them to face and accept their new reality. I would have liked the help of experts myself when I made this decision. I believe that every successful athlete can also be successful in the job market. But what they need in the phase of transition to a new path is the support of an expert. In this way, they can quickly and easily recognise themselves and their own potential, deal intensively with the new reality, and develop techniques that will serve as ‘new props’ for life and work.

Dr. Franci Petek

Supporter of the Zavod Vitae+ programme


How is inclusion in the programme of Zavod Vitae+ conducted?

In 2021, the first year of the Institute's existence, athletes will be accepted into the programme by invitation. With the funds raised so far, we can ensure the implementation of the programme for ten former top sports men and women this year.

More information

Laura Smrekar