An Examination of sport career transition in elite college student-athletes

Chung-Ju Huang, Taipei Physical Education College, Taiwan

Theme: Developmental/lifespan perspectives

Poster Number: 16

Program ID: POS-1

Presentation: October 3, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Room: Napoleon


The career development model views sport career transition from a holistic perspective in which experiences in the sport and non-sport domains mutually influence athletes’ transition. At different athletic stages, athletes need to cope with a variety of challenges in order to attain a successful transition. In Taiwan, due to few opportunities for professional sports provided, most of student-athletes terminate their sport career after graduating from colleges. This study investigated the status quo of athletic, psychological, psycho-social, and academic levels, along with specific demands, perceived barriers, and coping resources among college student-athletes. Forty (20 males, 20 females, age = 20.28±1.54 years) college athletes, who had won medals at nationally collegiate or high school sporting events, were recruited as the participants. A semi-structured interview was used to collect data. The results reported stable and mature athletic achievement and athletic identity, autonomous participation in training, and high goal settings among the participants. Then, the participants indicated that their perceived pressure mostly came from self-expectation, opponents, and teammates, and their peer relations changed corresponding to the environment they involved. Poor training environments and low academic performance were perceived as the main barriers in college life. They typically sought for career assistance from senior teammates, coaches, and family members, in addition to themselves. For future job expectation, most of the elite athletes set their goals on being a teacher or coach, and some were still unable to figure out a clear direction. Overall, for elite college student-athletes, excellence in athletic performance is still the major goal they endeavor to pursue. However, it is noticeable that a strong athletic-identity inhibits elite student-athletes to have a broader career choice after retiring.

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