University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

An In-depth Appraisal of Transitional Experiences in Professional Rugby Union

Roberts, Claire-Marie (2008) An In-depth Appraisal of Transitional Experiences in Professional Rugby Union. In: University of Glamorgan Doctoral Conference 2008, May, 2008, University of Glamorgan.

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It is widely accepted that embarking on a professional sporting career leads to a ‘subordination of lifestyles ‘to the cause (Stambulova, 1994). The intense commitment and focus dedicated to the pursuance of a professional athletic career (Wylleman et al., 1993) increases the risk of experiencing an ineffective transition out of sport, as other elements of life development are overlooked (Koukouris, 1994). Inevitably, living such an engrossing existence in the adolescent and early adult phases of life leaves athletes ill-prepared on retirement from sport, and presents disadvantages on entry to a second career (Rosenberg, 1981). It is posited therefore, that embarking on an athletic career has the potential to delay, or adversely affect an individual’s psychosocial development (Naul, 1994).
A thorough review of literature relating to sporting retirement highlights a disparate approach developing, with researchers focusing on isolated areas pointing to ineffective transitions. To date, research falls into the following distinct areas: athletic identity (Brewer et al., 1993), life-skill development (Papacharisis et al., 2005), the moral obligations of the sporting organisations to their athletes (Andersen & Morris, 2000) and the markers of transitional difficulties (e.g. Ogilvie & Taylor, 1993; Taylor & Ogilvie, 1994, 1998). Research in this field has recently been criticised for an unreflective over-reliance on collegiate athletes as participants (Sinclair & Orlick, 1994). Furthermore, recommendations have been made as to the benefits of approaching retirement experiences from a sport specific viewpoint in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of this complex area (Greendorfer & Blinde, 1985). This approach is further supported by recent anecdotal reports suggesting that a number individuals representing England at the 2007 World Cup have differing business interests outside of their sports career, and completed higher educational courses (“From Boys to Men”, 2007 p. 2:8-2:9), which appears to deviate from the academic and vocational norms of professional athletes in other sporting domains.
The aim of this study therefore, is to begin to approach retirement from elite sport in a more holistic and sport specific manner, addressing the interplay of contributing factors to the elite athlete’s transition at the end of their career. The proposed research will examine the experiences of ex-professional rugby union players in their transition out of their sport.
Purposive sampling criteria for involvement in this study include: (a) participants (n = 12) are male, (b) had represented an English professional rugby union club(1995-onwards), (c) had retired from professional rugby union for no more than 10 years and no less than 1 year. The time span specified in the ‘years since retirement’ was imposed to ensure a representative view of the recent professional rugby union environment.
Qualitative data obtained from semi-structured interviews will be collected and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) (e.g. Swain, 1991; Kvale, 1991). The semi-structured interview guide compiled was developed specifically for the study based on a thorough review of existing literature, theories and empirical evidence (Patton, 2002). The interviews are designed to facilitate in-depth discussions over the individuals’ transitional experiences.
Although the nature of qualitative research precludes the prediction of specific findings, it is expected that this study will identify factors relating to the cultural influences of the sporting organisation and personality types of the individuals involved in predicting the quality of transition experienced by rugby union players.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: professional rugby, athletic career, psychosocial development, retirement, elite sport
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Sport and Exercise Science
Depositing User: Claire-Marie Roberts
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2013 17:22
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:00

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