Athletic career transition : a qualitative inquiry into ex-athletes' experiences of the sports system in Singapore
Anecdotally, studies on athletic career development and/ or transition revealed that athletes tend to have difficulty immersing their lifestyle into the societal norm after the termination of their athletic career. Based on a cross-cultural study by Alfermann & Stambulova (2002), the phenomenon of athletes coping with this change is no different whether it is voluntary or involuntary termination, and whether the country’s existing sports system does provide assistance in their transitions; within or out of the athletic career. There is a lack of research and empirical evidence to support these claims. The purpose of the study was to qualitatively explore ex athletes’ experiences in their athletic career with the sport system. Four retired athletes (3 males, 1 female) representing individual and team sports participated in semi-structured interviews. An interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) of the data revealed that their experiences were mainly negative. Four superordinate themes emerged from the analysis: social support needs, conflict in identity, making sense of reality and recommendations for future. Participants reported lack of support from the system both financially and emotionally as pivotal in their decision to end the athletic career. The continued struggle for direction in their roles as athletes, coupled with recurring disappointment from the system’s support, led to early termination. Recommendations were made for future sport system to be more objective in governance to continue attracting talents and promoting the sport. ...
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