This tool assists to help athletes gain further insights into their self-identity. By using the tool, they can investigate their values, interest and vision to better deal with the challenges along the road of a dual career.
Self-reflection is the process of looking at oneself to determine the different aspects that form our identity: personality traits, social roles, strengths, weaknesses, interests, hobbies, etc. This process is necessary to develop our self-identity, meaning the view we have of our “Self”. Once we better understand this Self, we are able to make better decisions, manage demanding situations and, thus, become less dependent on others.
For the personal development of athletes, it is of utmost importance to develop and/or maintain identities outside of sport. Studies show it could be harmful to their mental health and the adjustment to life after sport if they do not. In contrast, multi-dimensional identities are associated with higher overall self-esteem and well-being, and will help to deal with setbacks or challenges such as injuries and career transitions more efficiently. Therefore, it is crucial to help athletes realize their manifold roles in life and the value of different interests, hobbies and purposeful activities.
This is where the tool Who Am I? comes into play. It assists athletes to gain further insights into their self-identity by answering different questions about themselves. The tool can be used stand-alone or in combination with Value Cards and Hall Of Fame.
Follow the instructions to apply this tool and browse our manifold resources to find out more about the addressed topic.
I Am (pdf) is intended to be used in a group setting, but also works on individual basis. There is no age restriction. Though, the answers of older athletes are likely to be more detailed due to a better understanding of their self-identity. Younger athletes might need some support in answering the questions. Regardless of age, athletes should be challenged to fully explore different aspects of their identity, so they realize that their self-identity is not exclusively formed by their athletic identity. The exercise is most effective if performed periodically, so the athletes are regularly reminded of the multi-dimensional aspects that form their identity.
- Hand out the worksheet I Am (pdf). Tell the athletes to take time to answer the worksheet questions. Note that they do not have to answer all questions if not wanted and can add other aspects that they perceive as important.
- Ask the athletes to individually reflect: What did I learn about myself through these answers and how could this be helpful for me?
- Based on this question, start a group discussion to discuss findings, learnings and questions arising from the exercise.
- Advise the athletes to keep their answers somewhere safe and read them from time to time to verify if they are still up to date.
- Athletes present their self-identity in front of others (e.g., class, team, family, etc.). If there is not enough time for direct feedback, ask the audience to write down one aspect they liked about the presentation on a little piece of paper which the athlete receives to read later. To prevent bullying, consider checking the feedbacks before handing them over to the athlete.
- Athletes create an identity poster on which they present who they are. For format inspiration, please google the words “identity chart”, “mind map”, “word cloud” or “vision board”. Versatile material for the poster creation will increase the level of creativity and fun for them. The athletes can present the poster to others or hang them up (e.g., in the classroom) for a certain amount of time to receive the feedbacks from the viewers bit by bit.
Please consider that these variations require a trustful environment.
- Giannone, Z. A., Haney, C. J., Kealy, D., & Ogrodniczuk, J. S. (2017). Athletic identity and psychiatric symptoms following retirement from varsity sports. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 63(7), 598–601
- Knights, S., Sherry, E., & Ruddock-Hudson, M. (2016). Investigating elite end-of-athletic-career transition: A systematic review. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 28(3), 291–308
- Lavallee, D., Gordon, S., & Robert Grove, J. (1997). Retirement from sport and the loss of athletic identity. Journal of Personal and Interpersonal Loss, 2(2), 129-147
- Murphy, G. M., Petitpas, A. J., & Brewer, B. W. (1996). Identity foreclosure, athletic identity, and career maturity in intercollegiate athletes. The Sport Psychologist, 10, 239-246
- Rens, F.E., Ashley, R., & Steele, A.R. (2019). Well-Being and Performance in Dual Careers: The Role of Academic and Athletic Identities. Sport Psychologist, 33, 42-51
- Scales, P. C. (2010). Finding the student spark: Missed opportunities in school engagement. Search Institute Insights & Evidence 5 (1)
- Stambulova, N., Alfermann, D., Statler, T., & Côté, J. (2009). ISSP position stand: Career development and transitions of athletes. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 7(4), 395–412
- Stambulova, N. B., Ryba, T. V., & Henriksen, K. (2020). Career development and transitions of athletes: the International Society of Sport Psychology Position Stand Revisited. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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The tool "Who Am I?" in action: See real-life examples of its application in EU dual career practice.