Career transition among athletes: Is there life after sports?

Jim Taylor, David Lavallee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


During the course of athletes’ careers, the primary focus of most sports administrators, coaches, and sport psychologists is on assisting athletes to maximize their competitive performances. This emphasis is expected, as athletes are their responsibilities during their competitive tenures and, when the athletes leave the team or sport organization, their attention has to turn to the current athletes under their charge. This system, unfortunately, tends to neglect what happens to athletes when they retire and must make the transition to another career and lifestyle. Fortunately, there has been a growing interest at many levels of sport and among many groups involved in sport in the issue of what has become known as “career transition” (Baillie & Danish, 1992). Popular accounts of this issue over the years have provided anecdotal depictions of professional athletes adjusting to life after sport (Hoffer, 1990; Putnam, 1991). These have most often recounted difficulties that athletes have had following the conclusions of their careers (Bradley, 1976) with a few exceptions of athletes who had successful transitions (Batten, 1979). These accounts also have suggested that athlete retirement is a pervasive problem, but the accuracy of these observations comes into question as these writings lack empirical rigor and the ability to generalize to the larger population of athletes experiencing the end of their sports careers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationApplied sport psychology
Subtitle of host publicationpersonal growth to peak performance
EditorsJean M. Williams
Place of PublicationColumbus, OH
PublisherMcgraw Hill
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9780073376530
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Sport
  • Retirement


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