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Title: Action research : preparing Maltese football players for migratory based transitions
Author: Muscat, Adele
ISNI:       0000 0004 6425 3955
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2017
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The thesis outlines a collaborative research project that was undertaken between the Malta Football Association (MFA), the Malta National Sports School (NSS) and Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU). Drawing on transition frameworks, models and contemporary literature (Schlossberg, 1981; Stambulova 2003; Wylleman & Lavalle, 2004; Morris, Tod & Oliver, 2015; Morris, Tod & Eubank, 2016; Richardson, Littlewood & Gilbourne, 2005; Richardson, Littlewood, Nesti & Benstead, 2012), the research adopted an action research methodology to examine the psycho-social and cultural challenges that young Maltese football players and parents experienced within migratory based transitions. The author adopted the role of practitioner-researcher to understand, plan and support a range of key stakeholders during the transition process. Specifically, Study One (Reconnaissance Phase) examined the challenges experienced by Maltese footballers that had migrated to European professional football. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 male Maltese players who had experienced migration to a foreign club. Results evidenced that players experienced homesickness and lacked psycho-social knowledge and skills for an effective transition. Players also experienced culturally based challenges. The findings are framed around a unique and deeply embedded Maltese cultural identity. Study Two (Reconnaissance Phase) utilised a focus group methodology with parents of players from the Maltese Football Association (MFA) Academy, parents of young players that had previously experienced migration, head coaches from top Maltese nurseries, and coaches from the National Sports School (NSS) and MFA. Findings of Study One were disseminated to facilitate reflection, discussion and to identify issues that required consideration in order to better prepare young players for future migratory based transition. Study Three (Action Planning) used focus groups to disseminate the findings of Study One and Two with the Headmaster of the NSS, and parent representatives of the school. A number of change strategies were developed to improve the school’s programme of preparation for students who may migrate to foreign clubs. A separate action meeting was conducted with the Technical Director of the MFA to discuss and highlight change strategies to improve the MFA’s programme of preparation for young footballers seeking a career abroad in professional football. The Implementation and Monitoring phases focused on applying the action strategies agreed. These were; (i) to experience migration and independent living, (ii) psycho-social and cultural support and development of young players, and (iii) parental education. Regular evaluation of change strategy activities evidenced positive change and also continued to enhance the efficacy of the strategies being implemented. Young players who have migrated overseas over the past year and who had engaged in a programme of preparation prior to migration have coped well with the challenges they have so far faced.
Supervisor: Littlewood, M. ; Nesti, M. ; Richardson, D. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: BF Psychology ; RC1200 Sports Medicine ; GV561 Sports