Successful Careers in Football – Findings of a Person-Oriented Study

Zibung, Marc; Conzelmann, Achim (23 June 2012). Successful Careers in Football – Findings of a Person-Oriented Study (Unpublished). In: 9th Conference of the European Association for Sociology of Sport. Bern. 20.-23.06.2012.

A successful career in football is the result of the appropriate interaction between different aspects of an individual’s life, since the various areas and phases of one’s life depend on each other. An endogenous causal relationship exists throughout a person’s entire history (Mayer, 1990). In particular, their family, work and sports career must be tuned to each other. The transition from the initial stages of education (compulsory schooling) to vocational training, which coincides with the beginning of the selection for the national youth teams, is a particularly critical phase (Wylleman, Theeboom, & Lavallee, 2004).
In order to do justice to the overall life situation of a young sports talent during this transition phase, we have adopted a holistic perspective and follow Bergman, Magnusson and El-Khouri (2003) in using a person-oriented and systemic approach. In doing so, our main focus lies on the person-environment system. This overall system is made up of various subsystems, consisting of several operating factors which interact with one another. The different levels to which these operating factors are expressed lead to observable patterns, which can be summarised in the form of types. Particularly promising types can therefore be identified and the developmental process can be described.
Former players on the Swiss U16 to U21 national football teams, born between 1981 and 1987 (n=159), were interviewed concerning their careers, and the operating factors school/vocational training, family support and sports environment were examined. With the help of the LICUR method (Linking of Clusters after removal of Residue) (Bergman et al., 2003), developmental types were identified which were promising in terms of achieving top performance in adulthood. A range of developmental types and anti-types emerge for the transition from the under-15 phase to the over-16 phase. One particularly promising type is observed in the over-16 phase, for which the operating factors education, family support and participation in national U16 to U18 teams have slightly above-average scores, with scores that are well above average in the sports environment.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW) > Sport Psychology and Research Methods

UniBE Contributor:

Zibung, Marc Raphael, Conzelmann, Achim


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment


Marc Raphael Zibung

Date Deposited:

07 Feb 2014 20:44

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:27


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