Callum Russell has been a key part of the Oxfordshire cricket team, fulfilling his duties as wicket keeper and number 5 batsman for the title winning side over the last 6 seasons. As well as playing for the national counties side in their championships, Callum has recently joined Aston Rowant, a home counties premier league club. To top all of this, the cricketer has recently embarked on a new career in London. We at The Transition Phase were keen to hear how he was balancing a dual-career lifestyle, here’s what he had to say:

“I started here at Impala in November so maybe if you asked me that same question in about 4 months after the summer I’d have a different answer for you! I’m training in the evenings at the moment, just trying to stay fit, I actually ran an ultra-marathon last month.. I train on the weekends and after work so it’s easy to do. Cricket, well I don’t get paid to do it, it’s nice that I play at a good level but the job does come first in my personal priorities now, and then I try and create time or find a balance to train and play at the weekends. I plan to still play during the summer which might require a couple of days off, but it is all about finding balance and managing expectations with work and sport.”

 “The company that TTP paired me with love to hire people from a sporting background. They look for former or current athletes as the skills and attributes we possess from our performance sport backgrounds are so transferrable to the working world. Both of my bosses are sport enthusiasts and sport is a hot topic of conversation in our office, so it is absolutely a perfect work environment for me!”

Culture-fit is an important element of job satisfaction, and we were really pleased to hear how well Callum has settled into his new role. Deciding to take the next step and transition into a new career is a huge decision in any athlete’s life. Callum spoke about what led him to make that decision:

“So after I finished up my Masters at Cardiff University, I decided I wanted to take some time to really enjoy my cricket and so I went out to Zimbabwe last winter. I spent my time there in the capital, playing cricket and training with the Eagles, one of their professional sides. It was a really good experience of professional sport, but I knew long term, returning to the UK I wouldn’t have a career in that. So, as much as it was thoroughly enjoyable – I always made sure I appreciated the academic side of things and that “plan B’ if you like. All the way through my university career, of course I enjoyed cricket, but always had one eye on my studies. It just felt like the natural next step for me to progress and start my career journey”

Much like Callum, everyone here at The Transition Phase are either former or current performance athletes, and so we are well accustomed with the realities of sport that often require athletes to dip into their own pockets to self-fund their endeavours. As someone who has stepped away from full-time sport to balancing a successful career alongside high level cricket, we asked Callum what his advice for other athletes in a similar position would be:

“It’s about leaving as many options as possible and realising that if it isn’t sport there, there are alternative careers out there which will still allow you to play sport at a good level. You know, sport and a career don’t have to be mutually exclusive.”

With an exciting summer of sport ahead, Callum left us with some final words on his goals for the season – and potentially a nod to another ultra-marathon on the horizon …

“That ultra-marathon was enough for the time being – it was tough! (Callum laughed) I think having started my first proper job it was important I challenged myself so that I didn’t slump or compromise on staying fit.

In terms of goals for the summer, I’ve moved clubs to Aston Rowant, and we have a chance of winning the home counties premier league this season, so I want to be a pivotal part of that, as a wicket keeper or number 4/5 batsman for a title winning side. I’m still apart of the Oxfordshire County set up this summer, so I want to contribute to that winning side again and be a part of that”

Callum, from everyone at The Transition Phase we wish you the best of luck and look forward to seeing what you achieve this summer!