A qualitative study of 25 young football players' experience of being football talents
Introduction The national football and sports elite unions in Denmark urge young football talents to complete upper secondary education while they are building football careers. The football culture has a magnetic attraction on young football players. Yet, attempting a professional career in football involves great mental and physical strains that profoundly affect the future lives of the young talents. Aims The study aimed to examine young (aged 15-19) male football players´ subjective experience and biographic memories of life as a football talent. An emphasis was placed on daily life experiences, especially the difficulties of submitting to the demands of both football training and education. Methods The study was a qualitative inquiry into the young football players´ subjective experiences of balancing football and education. The study used focus group interviews with 6-8 players from 4 different clubs and 8 in-depth interviews with 2 players from each of the 4 clubs. Results The interviews suggested that very few of the young football players felt they successfully balanced the requirement of school and football training. Most of them actually found it hard to maintain and finish education while training to become elite football players. Conclusions Despite the football unions´ good intentions, the study suggests that most young football players fail to adequately balance the demands of school and professional football. This may be due to the inbuilt logic and practices in professional football culture. One solution to these problems may be better individual counseling in regard to how to combine football training and education.
Sociology of Sport Journal, 2008
Talentudvikling; Talent development
Main Research Area:
Nordic Conference, 2008
Halmstad University. Centre for Sport and Health Research