As the centrepiece of Dutch elite sport, TeamNL unites 29 national sport federations. A TWIN Master Class now served the organisation to train their practitioners in the area of athlete transition support.

While school and higher education still dominate the European dual career discourse, systematic work-sport solutions and the professional support of athletes’ transition into post-athletic life remain subordinate topics. Fortunately, there are exceptions to be found in the EU. The labour market programme TeamNL@work is implemented by the Olympic Committee*National Sports Federation of the Netherlands (NOC*NSF) in cooperation with the partner institutions Stichting Sporttop, de SportMaatschappij, UWV, and Fanbased Foundation. Staff development is an integral part of the programme.

TWIN is honoured to deliver consulting services for TeamNL@work. This week, we conducted a customized TWIN Master Class in the Dutch National Sports Centre of Papendal.

Dual career meets philosophy

Athlete environments represent interactive patterns of beliefs, motives, objectives, professions, disciplines, communication processes, services, ethical standards, traditions, and cultures. Support programmes therefore rely on their ability to see an integrated systemic picture and get behind functional interlinkages.

In this regard, leaving well-known sporting grounds can help. Practically applying philosophical ideas such as of Søren Kierkegaard, Niklas Luhmann, or Martin Buber to dual career support of high-level athletes was the topical foundation of the TWIN Master Class for TeamNL.

TWIN Founder & CEO Wolfgang Stockinger

Upgrading the athlete transition support

Module 1 of our staff training was dedicated to work-sport solutions. The following guiding questions framed this module:

  • What is the motivation of organisations to consider elite sport-friendly workplaces?
  • What is required from a company to include active elite athletes in their staff pool?
  • How can inclusion conditions within the labour organisation be adapted, so that the work performance of athletes is connectable to both the logic of the free economy and the logic of elite sport?

Module 2 of the Master Class addressed the personal dynamics of retirement from elite sport from an athlete’s perspective, and linked, effective transition support delivered by the TeamNL practitioners. How to gradually shift the focus from a short-term reactive support approach towards a long-term proactive preparation of this inevitable transition, took center stage in this section. Based on the extensive experience of the TWIN counselling service (which has assisted a high number of athletes in their transition into the labour market), practical implications for both the institutional programming, as well as for the daily work of practitioners were identified within the workshop team.

Photos by © NOC*NSF & kolektiff images