Is There Life After Sport? An analysis of the positive transitional experiences within society of elite male athletes after sporting retirement
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine some examples of successful transitions from athletic retirement using a critical paradigm in an attempt to draw useful contributions to counselling and existing support mechanisms. Method: One-on-one, semi-structured interviews were conducted with four former elite athletes within a university context. Three of the participants were undertaking teaching roles at the university with one student completing an undergraduate degree at the onset of the study. The unstructured raw data was analysed and organised in key themes following procedures established in the literature (Creswell, 1998; Sparkes, 2002; Corbin and Strauss, 2008; Silverman, 2004). Results: The findings revealed that even though none of the participants had taken part in formal counselling sessions, they had all taken part in more informal support such as simply confiding in friends and relatives which highlighted the usefulness of counselling techniques to enable athletes to overcome the challenges of athletic retirement. The research also identified career planning as being a determining factor in the success of the participants‟ transitions whilst also acknowledging athletic identity as having an important influence on the transitional experiences. Conclusion: All the participants agreed that athletes should be better prepared for transitions out of sport and that it should be an ongoing process. The experiences analysed suggested that intervention strategies put in place by governing bodies and implemented at club level could prove beneficial to athletes subjected to difficulties linked to athletic retirement. This study also highlighted the need for further research to be conducted upon the potential benefits of counselling techniques whilst taking into account elements such as gender and individual sports.
DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (HONOURS) SPORT MANAGEMENT
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