The athlete’s journey: transitions through sport
The athlete’s journey: transitions through sport

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

1 What factors influence transitions?

While the potential psychological impact of career transitions depends to some extent on the type of transition and on the individual athlete concerned, there are several key factors that reoccur when studying what may influence an athlete’s response. You are introduced to these in the next activity.

Activity 1 Transitions and the psychological impact

Timing: Allow about 30 minutes

Watch Video 2 below where you will hear five athletes talk about their experiences of having their careers cut short and going into retirement. Note down what you think could have influenced their experiences.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 2
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Show transcript|Hide transcript
Video 2
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Discussion

As you watched the video, you will probably have noted several themes discussed by the athletes. Both Clarke Carlisle (football) and Alex Scott (football) discuss the challenge of no longer being footballers and recognise they suffered a loss of identity. This loss of identity links closely to the level at which these athletes competed, as they potentially have much more at stake − something Ollie Phillips (rugby) alludes to when discussing the loss of adulation and income.

What nearly all of the athletes recognised was the importance of preparing for a life after sport. Alex Scott, Luke Harvey (jockey) and Matt Machan (cricket) all highlighted how a career in sport is relatively short so having a plan for a second career is crucial. Having the right support around you to do this is also key.

A final point links to the different sports that each athlete was involved in and whether that had an influence on their reactions to retirement.

Activity 1 clearly identifies five factors that can influence an athlete’s experience of transition and these are illustrated in Figure 1.

Influencing factors on athlete transitions in sport: athletic identity, level of participation, chosen sport, preparation and support.
Figure 1 Influencing factors on athlete transitions in sport

These factors will form the focus of the rest of this session.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371