The challenges and motivations of dual-careers: Exploring the esperiences of being an elite athelete and in higher education student
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With an increase in elite athletes attending further education (British Universities and College Sport, 2012), the body of literature on dual-‐careers is growing. Previous research exploring the experiences of elite student-‐athletes has been heavily researched in the United States of America. However, few UK studies have examined the first-‐hand experience of elite student-‐athletes. The present study’s aim was to build on the limited amount of literature exploring the experiences of elite student-‐athletes in the UK, and to explore the challenges and motivations of such a unique group of dual-‐career students, using a qualitative research approach basis. A total of four participants took part in the study, who were all undergraduate students, aged between 19 and 23. A semi-‐structured interview and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) were used to uncover the three super-‐ordinate themes; expectant self, transitional self and aspiring self. The current study highlighted the challenges and motivations of pursuing a dual-‐career and the coping mechanisms needed to deal with it. Further research should explore the experiences of elite student-‐athletes in other universities and different sports and aim to clarify whether the results of this study are unique to one sport or all sports.
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