• Mads Søndergaard Thomsen
  • Jacob Bjørn Hessellund
4. semester, Sports Science, Master (Master Programme)
The development pathway has been investigated for many decades, in many sports, in many countries and in different contexts. Moreover, numerous studies have investigated how athletes, successful male athletes in particularly, have experienced their own specialization pathway from a life-span perspective. However, the literature remains inadequate when examining the experiences of the specialization pathway from successful and less successful athletes alike. Therefore, the present study was the first qualitative research examining how eight Danish successful and less successful male handball players have experienced their specialization pathway.

Based on an interpretative, phenomenological approach, eight in-depth, semi-structured, retrospective interviews were carried out. Based on IPA of the successful and less successful handball players’ experiences and articulations, the main findings of this study were as following; firstly, no differences in the experiences were found in the first period on the specialization pathway up to and including second year as U14. Secondly, the following years of their specialization pathway as U16 and U18, two major transitions indicated future success; coping effectively with upper secondary education and DHF-talent development system. Lastly, the transition from junior to senior including coping with injuries, club changes and dual-career also indicated future success. The successful handball players exhibited throughout the experiences of their specialization pathway the capability of demonstrating more resilience, determination and reflexivity towards reaching excellence within the sport than their less successful rivals.

Finally, when investigating the development pathway future studies should take the unique attributes of the specialization pathway into account.
Publication date7 Jun 2017
Number of pages73
ID: 259271319