Moving up, down, or sideways - How do I cope with transitions?
We know that the demands of change are placed on athletes at various points throughout their careers, these demands will challenge them to progress in their development. This then stimulates them to mobilise resources to find ways to cope.
Demands – Includes all factors that may interfere with the development of the athlete (e.g., dual career, GCSE exams, change of squad / team, new coach).
Resources – Includes all internal and external factors that may facilitate the coping process (e.g., parental support, effective use of competencies, financial support).
The balance between demands and resources and the effective use of resources will determine the extent to which athletes are able to cope with the transitional challenges. If effective the process of coping can lead to a successful transition.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to supporting individuals through any transition. Some young athletes may take transitions in their stride and find that the resources available to them far outweigh the demands of the experience. Others may find even small transitions or environmental changes to be challenging and require more support with resources to help them cope.
Here are some points to remember:
Some transitions may be smooth processes, and some may be more challenging.
Appreciate that each transition is unique and influenced by many factors which may have a negative or positive impact on your personal experience at that time
Facilitating an understanding of career transitions with young athletes and the appreciation of demands and resources will help them to appreciate what they have learnt when they face later life transitions (e.g., changing jobs, moving to a new house, retirement from sport).
Our role as the support network during transitions…
The support network can consist of parents, wider family members, friends, and fellow athletes.
Help them plan, problem solve (find solutions or develop a sense of hope for the future)
Be an anchor and a point or reassurance.
Be a sense of optimism by encouraging them.
Look after yourself - recognise that you may be finding the prospect of the transition difficult. That is ok. Make sure you have an outlet with family and friends.
The role of the organisation in transitions
To check in to see how they are getting on in the new group.
Keep an eye on how they are socialising.
Monitor their gymnastics progress.
“Develop the person alongside the performer. Facilitating the competence of the person across all aspects of his or her life by focusing on the nurturing of psychological skills that could be used to help the individual be successful beyond sport.” Neil and Cropley, 2017 – Delivering Sport Psychology across Youth Sport Contexts
This content has been developed as part of our #itsmyjourney project with Valleys Gymnastics Academy