Final results and discussion around dual career future possibilities in sport
Flavia Pesce and Cristina Vasilescu
· IRS istituto per la ricerca sociale, Itàlia ·

The ICDC Pilot Programme has involved intense years of experimentation. Sports clubs carried out their own activities involving several actors (athletes, trainers, teachers and parents) working in a range of areas (nutrition, psychology, lifestyle and physiotherapy) with an important involvement of local stakeholders.

After the first months of project implementation, the evaluation of the Innovative Clubs for Dual Careers (IC/DC) project started to allow partners to agree on the ICDC Pilot Programme implementation and lasted till its very end.

The pilot programme implementation was assessed through the use of different evaluation tools that were identified according to the different phases and steps in which the DC Programme was articulated.

Evaluation tools and triangulation of results:

Database/digital tracking. An online database that recorded information on participating talents: general information, sport and school performance and IC/DC programme information; information on talents’ personal development (i.e. motivation and commitment, self-esteem, stress/overload, rest and recovery, relationships with peers, coaches, parents, teachers and themselves).

Satisfaction questionnaires. Collect participants’ opinions on the effectiveness and quality of training sessions/workshops/information evenings. Filled in by all participants.

Pre-post intervention tests. Collect quantitative and qualitative information on the contribution of the project in bringing about changes in talents’ sportive and educational motivation, skills, knowledge, stress level, general motivation, as well as in their school and sport performance. Filled in by talents, coaches and parents.

Focus groups and semi-structured interviews. Collect qualitative information on the programme design and implementation process, effectiveness and sustainability.
The project has been tracked at several levels and at different times and important changes have been noted in aspects such as self-esteem, stress and workload. Flavia Pesce and Cristina Vasilescu from IRS presented the following main results with particular regard to talents’ performance and overall satisfaction and changes in talents’ personal situation from different points of view.
Talent's performance and overall satisfaction
  • According to the Dual Career Managers, the ICDC pilot contributed to improve participants’ performance in sport (+31%) and education (+36%) as well as in the activities within the programme (+40%).
  • These results are further emphasised by the overall satisfaction with talents’ performance in sport and education (respectively, 62% and 57% of the surveyed teachers and coaches).
Changes in talents' personal situation according to coaches, teachers and Dual Career Managers
  • According to coaches, there were changes in talents’ self-esteem, capacity to balance school/sport activities (60%) and rest and recovery (76%). If considered together with the improvement in talents’ capacity to manage stress and overload (31% of coaches), the programme seems to positively influence two of the most relevant difficulties in carrying out dual career paths (i.e. stress and overload).
  • Teachers also noted changes in the same areas plus an improvement in talents’ relationships with peers (36%).
  • According to Dual Career Managers, there were increases in talents’ self-esteem (41%), in the capacity to balance school/sport activities, in rest and recovery (31%) and in talents’ motivation and commitment (31%); new relationships with the Dual Career Manager were also considered (81%) as a crucial element for a dual career programme.


Managing capacity

The Pilot Programme was designed in a very comprehensive and broad manner in order to include all main possible activities that could determine an increase in the implementation of dual career paths. There are both pros and cons to this:
  • From a design point of view, it allows for a comprehensive framework of a dual career programme that could inspire other clubs (transferability).
  • From an implementation point of view, it requires a strong capacity of the implementers (e.g. sports clubs) in terms of human, financial and time resources.
It is thus important to break the “ideal” programme down into its main components in order to implement it at different stages, taking the implementers’ capacity into consideration.

Targeted and tailored activities
  • The evaluation shows that the Programme is more effective for very young people as they feel more “alone and confused” and “in need of help” than young adults (over 18 years).
  • The Programme is perceived to be more focused on supporting the sport area than the education one.
  • The possibility of interactions between schools and sports clubs could be stronger than between universities and clubs and could allow an easier integration of dual career support.
  • Dual career support should be an accompanying activity from an early age.
  • Dual career programmes should include well defined sport and educational support, also from a gender perspective and type of sport and performance.
  • Dual career activities should be different depending on if it is schools or universities that need to be involved and tailored accordingly.

Governance and coordination
  • Changes in behaviours can be quite different according to the various actors involved. The evaluation shows that immediate changes (for example in talents’ performance in sport and school activity) are much more perceived by those who are involved with talents on a daily basis at the sports club (DCM and coaches) than by teachers and parents.
    • higher involvement of teachers (or school/academic tutors) and parents in all programme stages.
    • use of specific coordination tools such as, for example, the increase in periodical meetings with all actors in the evaluation (i.e. coaches, DCMs, teachers and parents).
    • Use of specific involvement tools such as, for example, targeted and better communication of the activities and their results (also at intermediate levels) to all involved actors.
Evaluating dual career programmes
  • Changes in behaviour take time and can be different throughout the stages of the programme.
  • In order to see beyond the immediately perceived changes, long-time and continuous assessment of talents’ performance by all involved actors should be in place.
  • Continuous assessment with all involved actors is crucial to learn what works and what doesn’t and to improve the Programme accordingly.
The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
Conforme a la Llei 34/2002 de Serveis de la Societat de la Informació i Comerç Electrònic i la vigent Llei Orgànica 15/1999 de protecció de dades de caràcter personal, t'informem que la teva adreça de correu electrònic està inclosa en la nostra base de dades amb la finalitat d'enviar-te informació que considerem del teu interès. 

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