Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan, GIH

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‘’There was a lot of football involved, and I think that’s when my identity was created’’: A study about retired male football players, early specialization and athletic identity.
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Physical Activity and Health.
2022 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study was to investigate different experiences of retired football players who went through an early specialization, in which way it affected their athletic identity and retirement, and how they have dealt with it. The research questions were:

· What are Swedish footballers’ experiences of early specialization in relation to athletic identity? 

· How do early specialized Swedish footballers reflect on athletic identity after career termination?

To answer the research questions, a qualitative method with semi-structured interviews were used. Six male retired football players were recruited through a convenience sample. The participants were between 20-30 years old and have been retired for more than a year. Within this study, an inductive thematic analysis was conducted. 

The interviews and the thematic analysis resulted in four segments, which are part of their football journey. These are: 1) Early specialization- At the start of their career until they reached youth football, 2) Career- from youth football to a senior level, 3) Retirement- Right before and after career termination, 4) Athletic identity- Journey through their careers.  Within each segment, there are categorized themes with the participants reflections of their experience throughout football. 

The results within this study shows that athletic identity starts growing within the early specialization segment, through the career and gets encountered with complications through retirement within the retired footballer. Early specialized footballers who identify stronger with their athletic-self have a harder time transitioning out of football. Further research should consider studying early specialization's relationship with athletic identity in football since no studies are found investigating the matter.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2022.
Series
Examensarbete ; 2022:36
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-7120OAI: oai:DiVA.org:gih-7120DiVA, id: diva2:1693159
Educational program
Master programme
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2022-09-06 Created: 2022-09-05 Last updated: 2022-09-06Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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