Special Session - Symposium: Dual career (part 1): Gold in education and elite sport. The dual career of elite student-athletes: a competency profile

Koen De Brandt, Paul Wylleman, Nicky Van Rossem

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)

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Student-athletes perceive challenges in different domains when they make their transition into higher education. To cope with these transitional challenges, student-athletes require specific skills, attitudes, knowledge and experiences to optimize their preparation for and their development throughout their dual career ‘elite sport and higher education’ pathway. While past research has focused on the topic of dual careers, there is a lack of knowledge with regard to the competences athletes require to successfully combine elite sport and higher education. To explore the competences needed by student-athletes to successfully initiate their combination of elite sport and higher education, this study used the Holistic Athletic Career model from Wylleman, Reints, & De Knop (2013) as a framework. Using a retrospective design, semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine elite student-athletes who ‘successfully’ initiated their elite sport and higher education pathway. ‘Successfully’ means that all participants had an academic success rate above average and competed at international level. Preliminary results revealed that elite student-athletes require competences at the athletic, psychological, psychosocial, academic and financial level in order to successfully initiate a dual career in higher education. These include, amongst others, coping with athletic and academic related pressure, goal setting, effective use of time, prioritizing tasks, being able to live alone in a student house, and self-discipline. Further detailed results will be presented. To optimize the transition and integration of athletes into higher education, support services should be aware of the competences that student-athletes require so they can provide their athletes with tailor-made support (e.g. teaching them time management and self-regulatory skills) prior to and during the transition into higher education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings 14th European Congress of Sport Psychology
Subtitle of host publicationSport Psychology Theories and Applications for Performance, Health and Humanity
EditorsOlivier Schmid, Roland Seiler
Place of PublicationUniversity of Bern, Institut of Sport Science
PublisherEuropean Federation of Sport Psychology (FEPSAC)
Number of pages1
ISBN (Print)978-3-033-05129-4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2015
Event14th European Congress of Sport Psychology - Bern, Switzerland
Duration: 14 Jul 201519 Jul 2015


Conference14th European Congress of Sport Psychology


  • dual career
  • Gold in education and elite Sport
  • GEES
  • Symposium


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