‘Does Social Support Contribute to the Transition out of Professional Football’
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This study explored a ‘within-career’ (deselection) transition of five elite footballers (n=5). More specifically, the study examined the deselection out of the professional game, looking at how the deselection affected each participant, how their own self-identity was affected, and the role of social support during the transitional process. Qualitative methods were adopted in the form of a focus group in order to explore personal experiences of each participant. The focus group was then analysed, extracting useful information applicable to the study. Results showed that both positive and negative feelings were encountered during the transition phase. Additionally, results explained that a high athletic identity is positively correlated with negative feelings during transition, however the deselection process can also provide the athlete with a chance to identify themselves with something new. Furthermore, the role of emotional support was deemed to be the most appropriate to assist an athlete in transition, with participants also suggesting that financial and informational support is a suitable support network needed. The importance of further research and the examination of the football apprenticeship have been noted, in order to assist athletes in a negative transition, and provide future strategies for a positive transition.
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