In Favor of High-Level Athletes’ Involvement in Designing and Implementing Their Own Training

By Marc Lévêque

This article proposes four ways of enhancing the autonomy and responsibility of athletes involved in intensive sports activity and of fighting against trends in high-level sports that put barriers in the way of such autonomy :to provide a framework and rationale for the efforts athletes are asked to make, including in-depth knowledge of the training process relative to the individual’s level of maturity. Coaches have the obligation to help athletes perform professionally and take on the accompanying enhanced social status, so as to avoid risk ;to help coaches—who are often prisoners of institutional mandates—question their leadership methods ; to encourage the involvement of athletes in making their own decisions ; and to delegate more ;to place sports in a whole-life context, encouraging athletes to consider their career path, eventual retraining, and other aspects of their personal lives. Linking the commitment to sporting goals and quality of life is essential ;to take into account recovery time following physical effort and long-term effects on health as well as possible aftereffects of intensive training, making athletes aware of the risks to their health and body integrity.


  • high-level sport
  • sports psychology
  • sports systems
  • coach-athlete relationship
  • sporting career
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