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

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Session 1: The athlete’s journey – what are career transitions in sport?


Regardless of whether an athlete competes at a recreational or elite level, they will potentially face a wide range of ‘transitions’ as they progress through their sporting career. A ‘transition’ represents a period of change for an athlete which results in a new set of demands for them to manage, for example, at entry into sport, on changing competitive level, and at retirement. Transitions can be categorised as those that are planned (normative), such as the move to senior level, to those that are unplanned and sudden (non-normative), for example injury or unanticipated deselection (Stambulova, 2010).

In this first session, you will learn more about the different career transitions that athletes may experience as well as why this is an important area to study for anyone involved in sport.

By the end of this session you should be able to:

  • define and identify the range of different career transitions an athlete may experience
  • apply the athletic career transition model to individual experiences
  • understand the psychological nature of transitions.

Before you start, The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations of the course. Your input will help to further improve the online learning experience. If you’d like to help, and if you haven’t done so already, please fill in this optional start-of-course survey [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.