Collegiate and professional athlete transitions are not like other transitions out of other fields due to the intense level of identity and connectedness that goes with being a serious athlete and those who focus entirely on being an athlete (identity foreclosure). There is a sacrifice of their education and additional identity options/career aspirations, that make this type of transition more difficult. We know that the earlier you transition out of the dream, the more time you have to focus on the dream of the traditional working life. Similarly, transition is eased for athletes that engage in learning continuously and when they have a plan in place before their athletic experience ends.
After several meetings with professional and national sports organizations, along with years of engagement in this space, GSI’s Research Lab has developed concrete research questions that need answers:
- How can we decrease the time it takes for athletes to transition to new careers?
- How can we lessen the number of transitions (finding the career that sticks) and mitigate the stress that athletes experience?
- How can we be proactive in improving the number of athletes who finish their education and/or get credentialed/training for both sports and non-sports careers?
We can still provide the items listed above: education, counseling, degree completion, entrepreneurship, and certificates. However, we now are clear that the Global Sport Institute can play a much bigger role by developing the intake tools and systems responsive to these research questions. What we also know is that such a tool cannot be “one size fit all.” We are building it with a flexibility, but we can only do so by working with sports entities interested in accomplishing that same goal.
Our research will:
- Build on existing research in the area, including the comparison of military personnel and athletes’ transitions, commonalities, and dissimilarities.
- Refine and create instruments for assessment and test the delivery of existing instruments.
- Explore mental and social well-being, particularly, how athletes develop new purpose and meaning, and the role of others in athletes’ transitions.
- Describe and investigate intake/assessment processes to develop a customizable model for sports entities and individuals.