Athletic career models in water polo and their involvement in the transition to an alternative career

Susana Pallarés, Fernando Azócar, Miquel Torregrosa, Clara Selva, Yago Ramis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study is to qualitatively analyse the transition of elite athletes from high-level competition to an alternative professional career. Focusing on an especially heterogeneous sport with regard to hours dedicated to the sport and earnings, such as in the case of water-polo, we conducted 20 semi-structured interviews with Spanish First Division [División de Honor] players seeking as much information as possible by gender (10 men and 10 women) and career stage (10 current and 10 former athletes). The content analysis based on career planning, compatibilization of the psychosocial, athletic and academic-professional domains as well as decision making about retirement revealed that although sport initiation was similar in all cases, once the competitive stage began, three different career models emerged: linear, in which sports are given exclusive dedication; convergent, in which sports are prioritized but compatibilized with an alternative education; and parallel, in which sport and higher education are equally prioritized. These career models involve differences with regard to autonomy in the decision to retire, the level of career planning, the type of athletic identity, and the perceived availability of resources to cope with the transition toward an alternative professional occupation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-103
JournalCultura, Ciencia y Deporte
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011


  • Adaptation
  • Planning
  • Retirement
  • Sport

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