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SUCCEEDING IN SPORT AND BUSINESS: ADAM DIBBLE

In association with Simple Recruitment Services, Somerset County Cricket Club will be speaking with a number of former players who have gone on to succeed in the business world.

In the latest instalment of the series we sat down with Adam Dibble to discuss how his time as a professional sportsman stood him in good stead for his new career in business.

After progressing through the Somerset Pathway, Adam made his First XI debut in 2011. He featured in a total of 13 matches with the highlight being helping Somerset to the semi-final of the T20 Champions League later that year.

Adam is now the Founder and Director of Twenty Twenty Property, an independent estate agents based in the Exe Valley village of Silverton.

How and why did you get involved in cricket?

It’s all I ever really knew, and that came from being in and around that environment because of my parents. My dad played at Sidmouth Cricket Club, which is where we lived. I eventually played my way through the Devon age groups. I had a few sessions with Somerset and then, when I was about 15, I was invited onto the Somerset Academy. I always had a feeling and a certainty that playing cricket was what I was going to do. After finishing school, I joined the playing staff and was there for seven seasons.

In the winter after I finished school, I went to Australia for five months which was funded by the Club and the ECB. That was a real eye opener to the real world and an amazing opportunity and experience

Towards the end of my time at Somerset I struggled with injury. I was in and out of squads because whenever I got going, I got injured again. After a while, no matter how mentally strong you are, that frustration can start to grate on you. It got to the point where I was asking myself if I wanted to try and play for another team for few years as a bit-part player at what would be in my opinion lesser counties. I’d also fallen out of love with the game a bit and when that happens you know it’s time to look at other options.

I was keen to get into the ‘real world’ and I was at an age where I was young enough to change careers and start from the bottom. If I had left it until I was older it could have been more difficult. It was a big life shift, but I was ready for the challenge.

I look back on cricket with such fond memories. I met a lot of great people and it gave me the opportunity to travel the world and enjoy some pretty unique experiences.

Had you prepared for life after cricket whilst you were a player?

The quick answer is no, but I certainly wasn’t ignorant enough to think that I wouldn’t need to do something like that. I was aware of what I needed to do and the PCA really encourage you to prepare for life after cricket. It’s a difficult balance because I think that if you are going to really excel in sport, you need to give it absolutely 100% with minimal distractions. However, there is a lot of down time when you’re playing and, perhaps, I didn’t make the most of that. I didn’t know what I wanted to do outside of cricket and didn’t really do any work experience or anything like that. This is why I’ve invited some of the Somerset players like Jack Brooks and Tom Abell to come on down and spend some time with me to see what I do now. It might not be what they want to do in the future, but at least it gives them a taste of something else outside of the game.

What were your next steps after being released?

It was almost like leaving school. You have that initial excitement and feeling of freedom to go and do something else. I had the opportunity to try a few different things and I joined a recruitment agency. I did some manual labour with a landscape company and some packaging with FedEx.

The 6-12 months after leaving Somerset was busy. I got married, moved house, we had our first child and I started a new career with Bradleys Estate Agents. My Father was in the property industry so I’ve always had an interest and awareness of that world because of him.

After a year at Bradleys in Honiton, a job came up at Robert Cooney in Taunton and I was there for nearly three years. My time there was great. I learned a lot and they’re a brilliant company. They really helped my development in the industry.

We managed to build a relationship with the Club when I was there. Like any business, they were always looking for advertising opportunities and I suggested looking at SCCC. We also found and sold houses for a few players and staff and I think they’re still doing so!

You then took the decision to start your own business. How did that come about?

I live in a village between Exeter and Tiverton which had an estate agents at the time. I worked there for a little while in 2019 and the opportunity came about to take over the premises. I could see the potential for an agent in the area and I felt I could have some success with it. I’m a big believer in what’s meant to be will present itself, and so I couldn’t waste the opportunity that had come up.

What skills did you learn in professional sport that have stood you in good stead for life in the business world?

All successful sportsmen and women are incredibly driven to succeed. They want to achieve perfection. They adapt if they reach a stumbling block and there is a constant need to improve. The values that you learn in sport are very relevant to the business world.

Did you learn anything from captains or coaches that you now utilise within the business world?

I’ve always admired people who don’t need to shout from the rooftops about how they do things or how things should be done. The best leaders are those who lead by example. I feel the people who stay true to their morals rather than trying to please others are the ones who will succeed in the end. That’s true of both sport and business. If you’re true to yourself and to what you believe in, then you will build a solid reputation and success will follow.

How important is it for players to be proactive when it comes to planning for the future?

Players should definitely do it. The problem is that it’s easier to not do it! If nothing else, I think that things like work placements in the winter can help your cricket because it can offer some perspective. Trying to experience as many different industries can be helpful when trying to pinpoint what life after cricket might look like too.

Do you think that being a professional sportsman has made you better at what you do now?

Absolutely 100%. In sport, if you want to be successful you can’t settle for being mediocre, otherwise someone else will take your spot. You have to strive for excellence every day to keep improving. That’s true of both sport and business. I try to apply that approach to what I do now. I’m providing a service and always aiming to provide it better than my competition.

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