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Free course

The athlete’s journey: transitions through sport

Free statement of participation on completion
The athlete’s journey: transitions through sport
The athlete’s journey: transitions through sport

Are you a coach working with athletes of different ages? Are you a parent whose child has shown potential in sport? Perhaps you are an athlete looking ahead at your potential journey and choices through and beyond the sporting pathway? Whatever your involvement in sport, this course will help you understand the journey an athlete undertakes during their career, whether as a professional or recreational athlete, and the nature of support they may need at different times.

The athlete’s journey through sport can be characterised by several transitions and periods of change and each athlete’s journey will be experienced in a different way. In this free course, The athlete’s journey: transitions through sport, you will explore the psychological challenges of some of these transitions and the impact they can have on the athlete. This course will offer you practical guidance, whether you support athletes as a coach or parent or whether you are an athlete yourself, and draws on a wealth of case study and audio-visual material to bring the athlete’s journey to life.

The course is introduced by former England hockey player and Olympic gold medallist Alex Danson. Watch the video below to see what she has to say.


Enrolling on the course will give you the opportunity to earn an Open University digital badge. Badges are not accredited by The Open University but they're a great way to demonstrate your interest in the subject and commitment to your career, and to provide evidence of continuing professional development.

Once you are signed in, you can manage your digital badges online from My OpenLearn. In addition, you can download and print your OpenLearn statement of participation − which also displays your Open University badge.

The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations for the course before you begin, in our optional start-of-course survey. Once you complete the course we would also value your feedback and suggestions for future improvement, in our optional end-of-course survey. Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.

This course is accredited by the CPD Standards Office. It can be used to provide evidence of continuing professional development and on successful completion of the course you will be awarded 24 CPD points. Evidence of your CPD achievement is provided on the free Statement of Participation awarded on completion.

Anyone wishing to provide evidence of their enrolment on this course is able to do so by sharing their Activity Record on their OpenLearn Profile, which is available before completion of the course and earning of the Statement of Participation.

The athlete’s journey: transitions through sport

Earn this free Open University digital badge if you complete this course! The badge can be displayed, shared and downloaded as a marker of your achievement. The badge is awarded for completing the course and passing the quizzes.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand what career transitions in sport are
  • identify the main challenges associated with career transitions in sport
  • recognise how best to prepare athletes for career transitions
  • identify the impact of different transitional episodes on athletes. 

First Published: 26/10/2020

Updated: 26/10/2020

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