Exploring English Youth Academy Footballers’ Experiences through Role Strain Theory

Rick Hayman*, Remco Polman, Erika Borkoles

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Throughout adolescence and early adulthood, talented athletes must dedicate increasing personal resources to their sport. Recent empirical research found that applying Role Strain Theory (RST) was useful to contextualise international junior golfers’, acrobats’, gymnasts’ and Australian Rules footballers’ experiences of how they combined and coped with the competing role demands of sport and education. Findings demonstrated how role strain (RS) severity and regularity fluctuated during their youth careers but subsided during the latter teenage years. Surprisingly, limited research exploring how youth academy footballers simultaneously combine sport, education and social demands exists. This study determined the extent to which RS was experienced by six high performing male youth footballers who each had between four and five consecutive years’ experience within the foundation and youth development stage squads at an English professional football academy. Implications for most effectively supporting elite level youth players during crucial developmental and transitional career stages are provided.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)187-197
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Athlete Development and Experience
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2021


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