Tag Archive for talent development

Talentutvikling via studieprogrammet idrettsfag: En retrospektiv studie av unge fotballspilleres opplevelse av å kombinere videregående skole og satsning på en fotballkarriere

by Stig Arve Sæther, Anders Nygaard, Bjørn Tore Johansen & Martin Erikstad

Vol. 12 2021, pages 85–111
Published May 10, 2021


Talent development at upper secondary school: A retrospective study of youth football players experience of combining school and football

The purpose of this study was to gain insight into how young football players experience combining sports-related upper secondary education with being a player at a high national level. More specifically, this study will look at players’ experience of the opportunity to complete a “dual career” (Stambulova & Wylleman, 2015) in the form of time and facilitation of investment in both football and school, and regulation of organized training in the form of deliberate practice (Ericsson et al., 1993) to optimize players’ opportunities for development as football players. The participants consist of eight informants who have all attended a sports study program in upper secondary school and were included in the senior squad of a club in Norwegian top football. The informants were interviewed about their experience of how it affected their development as football players. The results showed that the players’ motives for choosing a sports discipline were mainly based on sporting motives and to a lesser extent school-related, where in many ways they consider the sports program study program only as a tool to prioritize football and increase their commitment to a football career. The players also described a large degree of facilitation for sporting development with a holistic approach, although they sometimes describe large amounts of training, which they perceived as positive for their development, but also as a tough physical strain. The results showed a clear difference in favor of the best players who had a better organized everyday life compared to players with a lower skill level. Even though the school tried to facilitate the school subjects, this arrangement worked, according to the players, somewhat worse than the sporting one. An important function in this context was that the players had a contact person between the club and the school, who arranged between the two parties, to some frustration among the teachers according to the players, who perceived that the facilitation went too far. It may seem that the sports-related fields of study fulfill their purpose of facilitation, but mainly on the basis of the sporting and to a lesser extent in relation to the school subjects, with the exception of the study-specific subjects.

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About the Authors

STIG ARVE SÆTHER is an Associate Professor in sport science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Department of Sociology and Political science. Main research interests; talent development, youth sport and sport psychology. His largest research project is a longitudinal 10-year follow-up study. Sæther is head of the research group: Skill and Performance Development in Sport and School.

ANDERS NYGAARD has a master’s degree in sport science from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Department of Sociology and Political science. Nygaard is also a semi-professional football player in the OBOS-league club Stjørdals-Blink Sports Club.

BJØRN TORE JOHANSEN, PhD, is a Professor of sport sciences in the Faculty of Health & Sport Sciences, University of Agder. His areas of expertise are sport & exercise psychology, teaching and learning in higher education, and qualitative research methods. He is a member of the research group SEP-HEP (Sport and Exercise Psychology: Health, Education, and Performance).

MARTIN ERIKSTAD is a postdoctoral researcher at Faculty of Health & Sport Sciences at University of Agder. His research interests are centered around factors influencing athletes` development and participation, and covers topics such as expertise development, group dynamics and coaching. Martin is also a member of the research group SEP-HEP.

Reality and Dreams: A Comparison of Elite Athletes’ Lived Career Paths with Young Talented Athletes’ Imagined Career Paths

by Kristoffer Henriksen & Janne Mortensen

Vol. 5 2014, pages 69–91. Published September 16, 2014


The road to international sporting success is paved with difficult transitions. The present study is a qualitative in-depth interview study with 16 athletes. We first asked eight elite level athletes to provide a biographical description of their career path. We then asked eight young talented athletes to imagine they were at the end of a successful career and invited them to portray their imagined path. The elite athletes portrayed their career path as full of challenging transitions and existential concerns, and readily emphasized a number of internal and external resources as prerequisites for their successful careers. The young athletes portrayed an easy path with few hardships and emphasized internal resources over external ones. The study sets as a question for future research whether young athletes’ naïve and pervasive optimism is a cause for concern or an important internal resource for their further career development.

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About the Authors

KRISTOFFER HENRIKSEN, PhD, is an assistant professor at the Institute of Sport Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark. Kristoffer is also a sport psychology practitioner with Team Denmark, the Danish elite sport institution. As a researcher, Kristoffer has published several papers on successful talent development environments in sport, young talented athletes’ specialization pathways, and the provision of sport psychology services to senior elite and young talented athletes. As a sport psychology practitioner, Kristoffer works with top-level  athletes and coaches in sports such as orienteering and Olympic sailing. Kristoffer has published several scientific papers about his applied work including papers on the professional philosophy of sport psychology practitioners and a paper on the delivery of sport psychology services at the Olympic Games.

JANNE REFFSTRUP MORTENSEN is master in sport science and European master in exercise and sport psychology. Janne is working as a full time sport spsychology consultant in her own company, Mental Motion. She specializes in the transition from junior to senior levels and works primarily with young talented athletes and their parents. She currently supports several young, high profile athletes on their rough road to become elite athletes. Janne is also a part of Team Denmark’s network of associated sport psychology consultants. Janne has contributed to two chapters for the book Becoming a Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology Professional: International Perspectives (2014, Psychology Press), and published the paper “A Narrative Investigation of the Imagined Career Paths of Young Athletes” (Sport Science Review, 2013, 22 p. 305.22, with Henriksen & Stelter).