Career Transition among Athletes: Is There Life after Sports?

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Chapter 23
Career Transition Among Athletes: Is
There Life After Sports?
David Lavallee, Sunghee Park, and Jim Taylor
“I can’t do it physically anymore, and that’s really hard for me to say. It’s
hard to walk away. I can’t explain in words how much everyone has meant
to me. I’ll never be able to fill the void of playing a football game. I don’t
look at it as a retirement. I look on it as graduation. You graduate from
high school and you graduate from college. I’m graduating from pro
football.”
—John Elway, two-time Super Bowl–winning quarterback
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consent of McGraw-Hill Education.
History and Background
• As the demands associated with competitive sport have
increased in recent years, so has academic interest in sports
career transitions
• The opportunity to study and address career transition needs
of elite athletes has proven to be difficult
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Sport Career Transition Programs
• Athlete Career and Education Program (ACE) in
Australia
• Performance Lifestyle Program in the UK
• Lifestyle Program in the Republic of Ireland
• The International Olympic Committee (IOC)
• The program aims to enhance elite athletes’ successful
daily lives both inside and outside sport through
education, life skills, and employment
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Theoretical Perspectives on
Career Transition
• Thanatology
• The study of death and dying
• Retirement from sports is like social death – social isolation
and rejection from the former in-group
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Theoretical Perspectives on
Career Transition (cont.)
• Social gerontology
• The study of the aging process
• Considers life satisfaction to be dependent upon
characteristics of the sports experience
o
o
o
o
o
o
Disengagement theory
Subculture theory
Activity theory
Continuity theory
Exchange theory
Social breakdown theory
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Theoretical Perspectives on
Career Transition (cont.)
• Retirement as transition
• A process that involves development through life
• The focus should be on:
• Continuation of behaviors
• Gradual alteration of goals and interests
• Emergence of few difficulties in adjustment
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
5 Stages of Career Transition
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Causes of career termination
Factors related to adaptation to career transition
Available resources for adaptation to career transition
Quality of career transition
Intervention for career transition
Copyright © 2015 McGraw-Hill Education. All rights reserved. No
reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Stage 1: Causes of Career Termination
• Age/Decline in performance
• Deselection
• Injury
• Free choice/ “Voluntary” retirement
• Decision-making process
• Other causes
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Stage 2: Factors in Adaptation to Career
Transition
• Developmental contributors
• Self-identity
• Perceived control
• Social identity
• Tertiary contributors
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Stage 3: Available Resources for
Adaptation to Career Termination
• Coping strategies
• Social support
• Pre-retirement planning
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Stage 4: Quality of
Career Transition
• The quality of athletes’ adaptation to career
transition will depend on the previous steps of the
retirement process
• Some athletes experience difficulties like identity
crisis, feelings of loss, and distress
• Other reactions to retirement included:
• Alcohol dependence/Increased smoking/Drug use
• Suicide
• Participation in criminal activities
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Stage 5: Intervention for
Career Transition
• Complex interaction of stressors that can create some
form of distress
• Financial, social, psychological and/or physical
• Fewer resources to address these issues once outside a sport
organization
• The most important task in the transition is to assist
athletes in maintaining their sense of self-worth when
establishing a new self-identity
• Sport psychologists can help cope with the transition
process
Copyright © 2015 McGraw-Hill Education. All rights reserved. No
reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.

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