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Moving up, down, or sideways - what are transitions?

Transitions can have an impact on a person’s self-perceptions, motivation, and moral development. Transitions are “an event or non-event which results in a change in assumptions about oneself and the world and thus requires a corresponding change in one’s behaviour and relationships.” There are three sets of factors that interact during a transition, namely the characteristics of the individual experiencing the transition, the perception of the transition, and the characteristics of the pre-and-post-transition environments.

Transitions for young athletes

  • The Sport environment – Athletes may experience a clear increase in frequency, intensity, and types of training, and matches or competitions of a higher level than they were used to before.

  • Psychological changes – These sport environment changes will require a change in motivation to participate and a stronger focus during training. They may also result in a change in the importance they put on their sport and how that becomes a bigger part of their identity.

  • School commitments – An increase in the sport environment will raise challenges for the completion of schoolwork and may even impact on school attendance. This may further impact social connections in school as individuals may lose contact with friends.

There are a number of different changes on an individual or organisational level that we may experience. Some examples are:

  • A new class in school

  • A change of coach / a change of line manager

  • A new squad or group

  • A new school / a new job

  • A new home or moving to a new area.

  • Changes within the family environment

The emotions connected to transitions can vary for all of us…

We anticipate that transitions will trigger difficult or challenging emotions such as stress, worry or upset. Although this may be the case in some situations, there is also a possibility that the change will trigger excitement, or the fun and enjoyment of something new.


Gymnasts - How do you feel about upcoming change or transitions?

Parents - How do you feel when your child is facing upcoming change or transitions?


Keep an eye out for our next blog on coping with transitions.


This content has been developed as part of our #itsmyjourney project with Valleys Gymnastics Academy



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