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Transformational Learning Within the University of Central Florida Football Player Experience

dc.contributor.authorSelman, Brian
dc.descriptionLeadership and Learning in Organizations capstone project
dc.description.abstractThe University of Central Florida (UCF) football program consists of approximately 115 players, 11 full time coaches, and 30 support staff members. In conjunction with Knights Leadership Academy, UCF football provides student athletes the opportunity to acquire the “skills, knowledge, and experience to be confident and independent leaders in all areas of their lives.” With less than 2% of college football players going on to a professional playing career, transitioning to life as a former player is inevitable. When playing careers conclude, athletes must reconcile their athletic journey with the uncertainty of their future self. Preparing football student athletes for life after sport is a primary duty of the program. Connecting holistic player development to the football player experience remains challenging. Failure can perpetuate a false narrative of athletic talent exchanged for short-term on-field performance. Using a hybrid sequential coding process, document analysis and qualitative interviews across three distinct sample populations revealed five key findings: 1. Players regularly experience diverse and personally unique disorienting dilemmas. 2. Individual player frames of reference are developed through personal experience and highly influenced by relationships. 3. The UCF football experience provides a sense of community for players and staff including various benefits and costs. 4. Existing player development and support strategy passively relies on access and availability in providing resources and broad programming. 5. The player experience shapes long term perspectives. Methods and strategies supporting off the field learning remain primitive. Deductions from the findings of this project and extant literature recommend (a) integrating a proactive player development and learning strategy, (b) facilitating and chronicling individual exploration of frames of reference for players, coaches, and staff, (c) leveraging the already present design and influence of small groups, (d) exploring, adapting, and integrating research proven methods to support learning on and off the field, and (e) developing and providing resource and mentorship systems supporting transitions from football playing careers. Building upon the values and investment made by Knights Leadership Academy, this quality improvement project aspires to support and evolve the University of Central Florida football program as a transformational learning experience and exemplar for holistic athlete development.
dc.subjectDisorienting Dilemma
dc.subjectTransformational Learning
dc.subjectTransformational Learning Cycle
dc.subjectAthlete Identity
dc.subjectHolistic Player Development
dc.titleTransformational Learning Within the University of Central Florida Football Player Experience

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