HerForm is an EU-funded project of six international organisations including TWIN. Its recently published research has identified the personal developmental needs of high-level female athletes in team sports.

Across their careers, female athletes face unique challenges. Compared to their male counterparts, there is however limited knowledge on how to best support the career development of female athletes. Considering the unprecedented rise of women’s sports, our study aimed to assess female athletes’ perceptions of career development needs and knowledge gaps relevant to navigating a senior high-performance sport environment.

The results

In adopting a co-productive, integrated knowledge translation approach, the project partners developed an international online survey covering 16 areas of career development. A total of 132 female high-level athletes (MAge = 25.9 ± 6.02 years) representing 17 different countries completed the survey.

Results show that female athletes express different career development needs in their early, mid, and late career stage. Athletes at early stages of their career felt least prepared to cope with travel, to navigate transitioning to a higher level, and to balance sport and family life. Overall, the areas in which athletes expressed they were least prepared for and wanted to be more informed about included contract negotiations, returning to sport after having children, and obtaining sponsorship contracts.

The following infograpic summarizes the most important data gathered in our research:

Research results HerForm

Designing the HerForm training hub

Our findings suggest the need to implement specific career support programmes tailored to the career stages of female athletes. Consequently, these novel results will build the scientific ground for the subsequent design of the digital HerForm training hub. These platform resources will also be linked with on-site workshops, delivered by service providers in female high-performance environments in Europe and Africa.

Assisted by the project partners Rugby Players IrelandAsociacion de Jugadores de Futbol SalaNYSA SwedenSouth African Cricketers AssociationDeutsche Sporthochschule Köln, TWIN will lead the creation of the HerForm hub to assist aspiring female athletes with their personal development as they transition into senior level. The training modules will be made freely accessible via herform.eu by the end of 2025.

HerForm is co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the EU
Project number: 101090528
Project duration: 1 January 2023 – 31 December 2025