sports development

sport & physical activity academic resources

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Junior to senior transition: understanding and facilitating the process

E-mail Print

The aim of this thesis is to produce a substantive grounded theory of junior-to-senior transition and as a result of this work, to provide knowledge and guidance for coaches, sport psychologists and other personnel supporting young aspirant athletes.

Underpinned by a social constructionist philosophy, the research programme was designed to capture and interpret the social world of the participants and to interpret the perceptions derived from their own lived experience of the transition.

The thesis consists of three studies which, in a concatenated programme of research, are predicated one upon another. In order that understanding in social research can be advanced, the development of theory requires several rounds of fieldwork, analysis and publication (Stebbins, 1992,2006). Thus the building of theory took place over the initial two studies, the first of which involved the in-depth interviewing of nine participants from individual sports (M age = 24.5 years, S. D. = 4.3 years).

As a consequence of this exercise, rich data were collected, depicting the participants' experiences of the junior/senior transition. Grounded in these data, a preliminary model of junior-to-senior transition was constructed using Strauss and Corbin's (1998) guidelines for grounded theory analysis.

More specifically, the resultant model revealed a cyclical process: of learning, identity development and progress at transition. Inception of the process is characterised by immersion in the post-transition environment during the pre-transition phase, in which significant observational learning occurs via the use of more senior role models. This process leads to the identification of discrepancies between the actual (or junior) and ideal (or senior) self. This promotes a period of adjustment in which the behaviours relevant to senior status are incorporated within the self, bringing about a sense of readiness, or ability to cope with the transition. In essence, the athletes had sought to structure their pre-transition environment to represent that which they would encounter post-transition, thereby generating stability for their self-identity.

The modification of identity, through the adjustment of behaviours and roles, predicted a competitive breakthrough, at which point the athletes began to think about the subsequent step at senior level, and hence the cycle of immersion, learning and adjustment continued. (Continues...).



editors comments

Editor's comments -  [ The above is the abstract from an original PhD thesis; the final publication in the study for the author in pursuit of a doctorate; such works result in the author being awarded a PhD and the title of Dr. by an appropriately accedited University. PhD's are the culmination of a number of years work by the author supervised by two (normally PhD or MPhil qualified) academics and, with the addition of a further appropriately qualified academic (not normally from the same University) as part of a viva-voce examination team. Successful research work at PhD level is designed to add to the body of knowledge in the study area at some level.

A PhD thesis often forms the foundation for journal articles for the author and leads to further enquiry in the form of what is called post-doctoral research. These works are characterised by comprehensive literature reviews, sometimes traditional yet multiple (and often mixed) methods, interesting if not ground breaking discussions and always directional signs toward further research; they provide for undergraduates not only a model for the possibilities for further study but a gift in terms of references in any given subject areas.

To reference an eThesis the convention in the text is the same as a book; author (date), in the reference list there is some debate; theses are more often than not, unpublished works, yet when listed on databases at Universities or elsewhere it could be argued that they are published.

Our best advice is to reference list internet sourced theses as ‘published’…. ie.; Author, (date). Title (emphasised). Place of publication and (university) publisher. Available from: URL reference. See our example reference below. ]


APA reference for this document


Reference :   E.K.L. Pummell. (2008). Junior to senior transition: understanding and facilitating the process. Loughborough: Loughborough University


The above reference is in the APA style: See why this is important in our [how to reference] us guide.
PhD publications are normally published under Creative Commons Licence conditions in that you must attribute the work appropriately (use the reference above), must not distribute for commercial means and must not alter the work in any way. For a full copy of the CCL please see here. [Use of this document may be limited by © copyright ; by downloading you consent to our terms and conditions ]


Access this URL ( clubsE.K.L. Pummell. (2008). Junior to senior transition: understanding and facilitating the process. Loughborough: Loughborough University
Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 April 2013 15:34