What comes first: My sport or my university studies? OR: Is this actually the right question to ask…!? Our keynote at the Gaan Voor Goud Conference of Open Universiteit offered novel perspectives on the role of dual careers in athlete performance pathways.

Open Universiteit (OU) is a Dutch non-traditional, public university with the mission to develop, innovate and provide open higher education. Student athletes represent one of the university’s population groups with special dual career support requirements.

Consequently, OU is member of the Netherlands’ “FLOT Network” (Flexible Education and Top Sport). Within the framework of FLOT, NOC*NSF and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science have made agreements with various colleges and universities about the organization of education for high-level athletes. The FLOT Action Plan gives direction to higher education institutions to guide student athletes to ensure a feasible combination between sport and studies.

Everything connected

On 21 June, OU hosted an online conference for high-level athletes, programme coordinators, and sport coaches. Joined by speakers such as Olympic champion Kelly Hoyng-Jonker or Gino Camp, TWIN Founder & CEO Wolfgang Stockinger delivered the keynote of the event.

In this keynote, he investigated the impact of dual career/sports career transition planning/off-field actitivities on athletic performance development by interlinking latest scientific studies, experiences stemming from TWIN’s athlete counselling service, and learnings of his own athletic career.

“Natural parts of high-level sporting careers are change & transition in varied manifestations. Consequently, dealing with change & transition becomes a key competence of successful athletes. In this regard, it is scientifically proven that people with a broad foundation of manifold values are more stable, more robust, more crisis-proof, than people whose concept of life is mainly constructed around only one single central value.”
Wolfgang Stockinger

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