On the transition into elite rugby league: perceptions of players and coaching staff

Rachel A. Jones, John W. Mahoney, Daniel F. Gucciardi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Transitions need to be effectively managed to allow for successful progression through developmental stages in many life domains. In this study, we aimed to generate new insights into within-career athletic progressions by exploring players' and coaching staff's perspectives on the transition from subelite to elite level rugby league within an Australian context. A personal construct psychology approach including experience cycle methodology was used to interview 17 purposefully recruited male rugby league players (Mage = 21.71, SD = 2.79) who had been or were part of an elite rugby league squad, and 9 staff(Mage = 47.14, SD = 11.13) who had experience working with transitioning rugby league athletes. Overall, 21 themes (11 combined, 5 unique for each group) were extracted from the participants' discourse using a thematic analysis, all of which were separately conceptualized into 3 global themes: personal attributes, environmental factors, and critical incidents. Our findings provided support for the robustness of a holistic, life span developmental perspective of career transitions in sport contexts. The theoretical integration of this life span perspective with the Job Demands- Resources model is discussed as a fruitful avenue for future research and theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-45
Number of pages18
JournalSport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • experience cycle methodology
  • Job Demands-Resources model
  • personal construct psychology
  • within-career transitions


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