On Tuesday 23rd of October the EIS Performance Lifestyle (PL) team hosted a webinar with David Lavallee, Professor of Duty of Care in Sport of Abertay University, Dundee, Scotland.
This webinar aimed to inform practitioners about recent research carried out by Professor Lavallee and the National Rugby League (NRL) in Australia. The research has recently looked at the impact of engagement in a career planning program and the effect it has on players, clubs and the NRL overall.
The results show for the first time statistically significant relationships between engagement in career transition planning and performance. Specifically, high levels of engagement in the career planning process with practitioners was found to be positively related to being selected for the team when available, and the number of years contracted by the club and the number of years playing in the NRL overall.
The fact that this research shows how engagement in career planning has a positive impact on an athlete’s performance is something that Performance Lifestyle has instinctively known for a while, however this the first research to support our anecdotal evidence.
Jo Harrison, Head of Performance Lifestyle said: “In Performance Lifestyle we have known and experienced this to be true but having this demonstrated through scientific data for the first time is very impactful. It’s now up to us to use these findings in our day to day interactions to help change the conversation and the out-dated beliefs that still exist around commitment having to be demonstrated through a sole focus on sport”.
The PL team were delighted that Professor Lavallee was able to share key insights from the research with our practitioners and for us to understand further how these ground-breaking findings support the importance and impact Performance Lifestyle services have on athletes and their sporting careers.
This research is extremely valuable to the team because it challenges existing knowledge and can enhance our professional practice. The findings could influence effective changes in the practice of career transition support with the sports and athletes that PL practitioners work with.
As part of the webinar Professor Lavallee said: “It is important for athletes, coaches, and senior administrators who may have misconceptions that engagement in career transition planning is time poorly spent, to understand the positive benefits in relation to sustainable performance.
“The greatest potential impact in sport today rests on how support is provided to participants across the system. In elite sport, I believe the performance gains in world class systems over the next 20 years will come not through technology but by providing support when needed in areas such as mental health and career transition planning, and that these gains will not be marginal gains. They will be significantly greater.”
Professor Lavallee’s study, which analysed over 600 professional athletes across three seasons, found that higher levels of engagement in career transition planning had a positive impact on performance on the field and length of playing career. The study is published in the journal, International Perspectives on Stress and Coping. The infographic below displays these findings.
To find out more about the work of the EIS Performance Lifestyle team, please click here.