University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Are Career Transition Concerns Only for Athletes? An Autobiographical Study of the Career Transition of an Elite Coach

Kenttä, G., Mellalieu, S.D. and Roberts, Claire-Marie (2015) Are Career Transition Concerns Only for Athletes? An Autobiographical Study of the Career Transition of an Elite Coach. In: 30th Annual Congress of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, 14th - 17th October 2015, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

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In contrast to the wealth of literature devoted to elite and professional athletes few studies have explored the transition experiences of coaches’ out of their respective sports, or into other sports. This is despite the acknowledgement that the career transition can also be a significant and long lasting event for these individuals (Gordon & Lavallee, 2011). Like athletes, coaches do not consider the end of their careers or believe it important to plan for retirement despite acknowledging job instability. This paper presents a case study of a female coach and her transition out of long term coaching from her sport following a critical life event. At the time of the initial data collection the participant had been coaching in her sport at the elite level for 24 years. A novel autobiographical approach was adopted whereby the participant undertook expressive writing to describe her experiences prior to, during, and following the critical life event of coaching an athlete at the 2012 Summer Olympic games. Thematic analysis indicated 7 key moments related to the participant’s experiences of the critical life event: the build up to the event, the event itself, the aftermath, reflection on the event, sampling of new avenues, career enlightenment, and career re-birth. The findings describe the psychological processes that a coach experiences in relation to transitioning out of their sport due to a critical life event. They also reinforce the high demands placed upon elite coaches, the subsequent threats to physical and mental wellbeing, and the importance of having robust mental skills and suitable social support to cope with these demands. Implications for preparing and supporting coaches and support staff for successful career transition are discussed including the provision of structured support programs and resources in the lead up to, and following, critical life events in their professional careers.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: career transitions, sport, elite coaches, professional careers, sport psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Sport and Exercise Science
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Depositing User: Claire-Marie Roberts
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2015 08:51
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:08

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