Inter sport transfer: experiences of high performing Australian adolescent athletes

Rick Hayman*, Remco Polman, Erika Borkoles

*Corresponding author for this work

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A recent strategy by national sport governing bodies to maximize success at global levels has been through talent transfer (TT) programs. TT occurs when a high performing athlete’s involvement in a sport—in which they have invested substantial time, effort, and resources—comes to an end, and they transfer this experience to a new sport. Research exploring the facilitators and barriers to successful TT in elite sport is surprisingly limited. This is particularly the case for high performing adolescent athletes. Little is known about when, why, and at what stages of their careers they choose to transfer from one sport to another and their consequent experiences of doing so. Through semi-structured interviews, this study explored motives for why eight, high performing Australian adolescent athletes transferred sports and identified factors which facilitated or hindered the ensuing successful inter sport transfer. Based on our findings, we propose the Adolescent Sport Talent Transfer Stage model (ASTT- four stage model): (1) Primary Sport Rejection Stage; (2) Transfer Sport Susceptibility Stage; (3) Transfer Sport Acknowledgement Stage; (4) Internalization and Acceptance of Transfer Sport Stage. The model conceptualizes how talent transfer may occur and focuses on explaining the process of how to become a successful youth and adult elite athlete in another sport. Practical implications, further research avenues and limitations are presented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-226
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Expertise
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


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