Understanding the process of life skills application beyond sport


The life skills process (i.e., sport to life) involves three interrelated stages: (a) life skills learning in sport, (b) life skills transfer, and (c) life skills application in at least one life domain beyond sport (Pierce, Gould, & Camiré, 2017). The purpose of the study was to examine how athletes apply in life the skills learned or refined in sport in order to develop new theoretical explanations for the third stage of the life skills process (i.e., application). The study employed a Straussian grounded theory methodology (Corbin & Strauss, 2015). Data collection occurred over ten months and involved: (a) interviewing, (b) chronological charting, (c) timelining, and (d) solicited journaling with university intramural athletes (n = 13) between the ages of 18 and 24 years (M = 21.77; SD = 2.2). Social agents (n = 29) aged 19 to 58 years (M = 31; SD = 13.4) playing key roles in the athletes' lives (e.g., parents, partners, work colleagues) in life skills application contexts were theoretically sampled and interviewed. Analysis involved an iterative process of open coding, axial coding, and theoretical integration. The substantive grounded theory is constructed on the core category of "mutually beneficial person-context regulations". Within the theory, life skills application is framed as an ongoing process of (a) decision-making, (b) application, (c) appraisal, and (d) adaptation. The study's contribution lies in the grounded theory putting forth new theoretical explanations for how athletes apply in their everyday lives the skills they deem to have learned or refined in sport.

Acknowledgments: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council