Aim: This investigation examined teachers’ perspectives of issues faced by high performance school-age athletes in balancing school and training. This study examined a complementary but different view about the training and study issues identified by school-age athletes themselves and was designed to provide a broader insight into this problematic area. Methods: This research was part of a larger project where 19 high performance school age athletes were interviewed about their experiences in juggling school and sporting demands. Additionally 10 teachers who had or were teaching high performance schoolage athletes were also interviewed about their views on how these student athletes cope with school and sporting commitments. Interview data from teachers were analysed using NVivo 10.1 and SPSS descriptives. Results: Although teachers were empathetic to student athlete issues, the teachers’ perspectives about the problems faced by high performance school age athletes in balancing study and sport differed to the issues expressed by the students themselves. In particular teachers daily classroom observations of school-age athletes revealed that the main issues for student athletes related to balancing timetables, student tiredness, being time poor, and the need for students to set short term goals. Notably absent from teachers’ responses were: a lack of their awareness about the nutritional requirements of student athletes and their lack of any systematic monitoring strategies to gauge fatigue and physical stress levels in student athletes. Conclusion: This research identifies observational issues for teachers in their management and support of high performance school-aged athletes. It provides strategies teachers can use to monitor student athletes’ wellbeing and also identifies some supportive strategies teachers can use to help these school-age athletes’ cope with their educational and sporting goals.
29th Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) International Conference: Values into Action - A Brighter Future, Adelaide, Australia 13-15 April 2015
29th Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation International Conference Program / pp.38-39