My Career Change: Annette Lynch’s Career After Olympic Volleyball

When a professional athlete’s playing days are over, many do not realize that athlete’s career in another field is often just beginning. As part of VIKTRE’s dedication to drive interaction between athletes and their fans, our Career team made it a priority to show how successful many athletes have been since their playing days ended in a feature called “My Career Change.”

In this installment of “My Career Change,” we interviewed former Olympic Volleyball athlete,  Annette Lynch (competed as Annette Huygens-Tholen). Most know Annette from her days with the Australian volleyball team, and in the 2000 Olympic Games.

What sport did you play?


What teams did you play for?Annette Lynch

Australian Indoor Volleyball Team (1989-1993)
Australian Beach Volleyball Team (1994–2002)
2000 Olympics

What industry did you change careers to?

Performance and NLP Coach & Trainer

How did you get into your new career?

My career evolved through 6 years and 3 retirements. I had a physiotherapy degree but sought other opportunities in sports marketing and sports media without great success. I kept going back to Physiotherapy and back to professional Beach Volleyball.

Finally I started attending Personal Development seminars and started investing in myself and further education. I took courses to become a Master Results Coach, NLP Practitioner and Trainer.

I started out working with athletes in sport, and then realized that I could be of greatest help in their life outside of sport. In 2009 I wrote my book, Success beyond Sport, based on my studies and my personal experience of transition.

What was the biggest challenge you faced making your career change?

Depression caused by loneliness and lack of direction – I didn’t set myself exciting new goals, and the goals I did have lacked clarity and self-belief. There was nothing to give me that feeling of success or ‘winning’. My identity was stuck with being ‘just an athlete’ or even ‘just an Olympian’ and I couldn’t see myself as a successful businessperson.

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far in your new career?

Became an international trainer for the organization I trained with. My book Success beyond Sport.

What advice do you have for athletes making their career change?

Dare to dream again – set goals that excite you, just like your sporting goals excited you. See your sporting journey as part of your larger journey, with skills and experiences that translate to your career success.

Believe in yourself and surround yourself with people that support and encourage you – just like you did in sport. Get support – it can make all the difference.

One of the biggest mistakes I made, and most athletes make, is thinking that they are the only one going through this, that they should be ‘better than this’; and that they should soldier on their own. Talk about any issues with someone. We all go through the transition and it’s nothing to be ashamed of if one is struggling.

How can other athletes learn more about your business or your career change?

Athletes can learn more about making a successful transition at

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