In practice


Case study: Mountainbiker

Theresia Schwenk is a German Mountainbike World Cup athlete. The athlete student attends the 1st semester of her Master’s degree in “Economics and Business Education” at the University of Mannheim. Due to her athletic achievements, Theresia is a holder of the “Elite Student Athletes Scholarship Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region”.

The dual career coordinators of the university create a file about every athlete student studying and being coached at the institute. In this file, all study-relevant information and documents are collected. The Sport & Studies Contract (pdf) is included in this file. On 2 pages, it provides the most important information about Theresa and her dual career. In the Object Agreement section, the next semesters are pre-planned to encourage and empower the athlete student to take control of her studies from an early stage on. In Theresa’s case, the contract is also included in the annual planning with her sports coach.

The Flex Request Form is a tool that helps Theresa’s coordinator to make the semester more flexible in favor of the athlete student. The University requires the form to be filled out prior to or at the very start of a semester so that problem solving can begin early. It also serves as a documentation and overview of the solutions finding. It also becomes clear how many obstacles and challenges Theresa will have to face during the semester. If there are too many, it is possible to react and reschedule early.

Navigating through Corona

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the current semester of Theresa is conducted online. The same applies for advising and counselling athletes. Therefore, Theresia has been sent the documents by email. Before she fills out the contract, the idea and importance of the contract is discussed with her in a video conference with the coordinator. She returns the completed and signed contract by email. In the last step, the contract is discussed by phone.

Since Theresia is already an experienced athlete student and has been successfully mastering her dual career for quite some time, she does not use the available Dual Career Planner (xls). She has her own working system in place to coordinate her athletic and university schedules. Simultaneously, for athletes at the beginning of their studies, the planner is regularly used by the coordinators to help keep track of the many appointments and deadlines.

The athlete has given permission to use her real name in this case study.