Athletes are responsible for their own development. The dual career program is implemented for them in order to make the combination of school and sports as easy as possible. Therefore, all the involved stakeholders are willing to them in case that is necessary. Make your athletes aware of the possibilities which are given!
As a coordinator you make sure all the athletes are aware of their roles and activities. So communicate this towards your athletes and make sure everybody in your team had this knowledge. So you can point them out if needed. The athletes are, off course, the centre of the whole program. They need to be aware of this and try to get the most out of the things that will be arranged for them. To start they could also use some information.
What do athletes need to know?
Why is a dual career important for them (what is their advantage in participating in sports).
The club’s dual career vision / philosophy (to know with what values and in what way they will be supported).
The program is developed to support them, but they are the ones who are in charge of their own development.
That at some point they might face difficult transitions and what is takes to overcome them.
How do you involve athletes?
Make the coaches actively ask them about their dual career and the challenges that they are currently facing.
Organise workshops for the athletes that help them to develop skills for personal development (see implementation).
Let them do small assignments to determine what their goals are for the coming period and what they want to learn from the DONA-project.
Guidelines for athletes to participate:
You take responsibility for your own development. You are aware of the importance of the program and the chance that it gives you, and therefore you will actively make use of the possibilities.
You work actively on your personal development. You go to the established workshops and try to implement the findings you learned there in your daily life.
You will ask for help from your coach, ambassadors or other experts when you think that it is necessary.
You are aware of your current career and you set goals for the short, and long term.
You are aware of the dual career vision of the club and are able to communicate this effectively with other people.
A best practice from a sportclub in Denmark
Athletes in the approach of Team Denmark is that the athlete is responsible for his or her own development. An important goal of sports psychologists is to work step by step with the athletes towards more personal responsibility in their dual careers. For that reason, the athlete is in the middle (the triangle). For each athlete Team Denmark looks at three levels, namely personality and identity, life as an elite athlete, life skills and mental skills in dual career. Especially on the second level, collaboration with lifestyle coaches and career counsellors in sport and education is important.
Working on personal development and identity is an important basis in the model. While many sports psychologists tend to work immediately with visualization or goal setting, Team Denmarks working method first focuses on the behaviour, self-image, motives and values of its athletes. Surrounding the athlete is a circle representing the sport and non-sport environment into which the athlete is embedded (From the Erasmus Plus project ICDC).
The Talent Skills student (ICDC):
is able to manage and account for its own development;
takes the initiative and chooses the right channels to get in touch with the team around him;
is able to recognize his own role within the team / group and has / identifies alternative actions;
is able to present himself representatively and not to harm others;
is able to organize a balanced lifestyle and recognize and solve personal challenges / threats.