In practice


Case study: Talented canoeist

John Doe is a 15 year-old Dutch canoeist. Recently, he was selected by his national Canoe Federation to be part of the talent team; a partly centralized programme for which he has to travel way more than he used to. On top, John has entered a sport school for talented athletes.

Accordingly, John’s life is making a huge turn due to more training, a special diet, a new social environment, less free time, etc. This is a new and demanding step for young athletes. Luckily, the sport school proactively assists John and his classmates in their start and further development as a dual career athlete.

Reason to select this tool

The tool Who Am I? is chosen by John’s school’s dual career coordinator to foster the youngsters’ creation of self-identity. Consequently, this should come with an increased self-confidence to be able to make better choices and create balance in their talent reality.


First, the coordinator shows the class the video of the Mississippi State Athletics. This video helps youngsters understand that their Self is not exclusively formed by the athletic identity. Second, the coordinator explains and hands out the worksheet I Am (pdf) to assist them to investigate who they are alongside being a talented athlete.

After 20 minutes of individual reflection, the talented athletes form groups of four to share and discuss their answers. In this course, John explores that, compared to most others, he seems to have a pretty clear vision about himself and his life. Simultaneously, it is difficult for him to cope with the changes he faces at the moment.

"I Am" exercise

Worksheet filled in by John (adapted to typewritten format)

To conclude, the coordinator asks John and his classmates to write down individually what they have learned from this exercise. John recognizes that it is important for him to keep up a variety of life (e.g., by maintaining his passion for bird watching) in his new situation, even if there is less time for things alongside sport. In this context, he gets to know that especially learning how to plan better will become a crucial factor of success and personal balance in the next years.