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Performance Transition Support Programme


Gearoid Towey


"I was fortunate to compete at 6 Paralympic Games. When I retired after the 2008 Games, it was a real challenge to adjust as I did not have a clear plan in place for the retirement transition. Support from the Institute was critical in assisting me to make a successful transition. My fears around retirement were put to rest through the great support that I received."

Patrice Dockery
6 time Paralympian
Wheelchair Track


Kenny Egan APTP

"After Beijing I experienced a profound and unexpected emotional challenge around the post-Games 'come down'. At the time it was difficult to understand what was happening and I'd have really appreciated having the support that the Institute now offers to athletes in this period.Patrice Dockery APTP"Managing success after the Games was a real challenge for me and I learned the hard way how to find my path again. Many athletes struggle with their post-Games transition and I am working with the Institute to help make sure that the right advice, support and guidance are there for you. Get in touch and get involved, we're here to provide a helping hand."

Gearoid Towey
Olympian, 2008


 Kenneth Egan
Silver Medallist, 2008


After the Games are over you can avail of a number of support services that are designed to help you recover, refocus and re-energize as you move on to your next challenge. For some it's the road to Rio. For many it is the next Europeans or Worlds. For others a transition to a post-sport career, or maybe some pondering on options before making a choice. Whatever your situation, we've got something for you so take a look at the options below.



  • The Mental Cool-Down. After your event you'd naturally have a physical cool-down and this is the mental equivalent. After you've competed one of the transition team will be in touch to arrange an initial meeting. The focus will be on your experience of the Games. We know it's a pressure environment so this is an opportunity to "decompress" before moving on. Timeframe - within 5 days of your event.


  • Follow-up Recovery meeting. Just as you'd have a recovery session after hard training, this follow-up provides you with an opportunity to reflect on your Games experience and the return home. One of the sports psychologists on the transition team will help you "unpack" your experience. Timeframe - within one month post-Games.


To help you "unpack" your experience please book an appointment with one of the Institute's sports psychologists by contacting us here.


  • Medical Check-in. The Medical team will be in touch with you post-Games to follow up on any injury/illness issues and to check that you're in good health. Timeframe - within two months post-Games.


If you wish to make an appointment with one of the Institute's medical team you can do so by contacting us here.


  • Lifestyle - Personal Planning Service. Whatever direction you're going post-Games, the lifestyle team will support you with a personal planning service designed to help you reflect on where you are now, where you'd like to go next and most importantly how to get there.


You can book an appointment with one of the lifeskills team by contacting us here.


  • Lifestyle - Profile management. For some (many we hope!) there will be increased demands placed on you due to your success at the Games and we know this can be daunting. This service offers impartial, professional advice on dealing with agents, media, corporate and sponsorship opportunities.


You can book an appointment with one our profile management consultant by contacting us here.



  • Performance Transition Life-skills Session Programme. For athletes looking to move to a post-sport career OR combine training with work or education, we offer a programme of sessions across a diverse range of topics from CV development, job searching, interview skill development, career planning, education course planning, communication and negotiation skills.

For more information on the life-skills session programme click here.

  • Athlete Summit. Coming in Spring 2013, an opportunity to get together with other Olympic and Paralympic athletes to celebrate, commiserate, and reminisce on the summer of 2012. Share stories, catch-up with teammates and reflect on the whole experience. Run by athletes for athletes.Timeframe - February-March 2013



Contact details



To book your support please contact:
David McHugh, Life skills Lead
Irish Institute of Sport
Telephone: +353 1 8243520 / 8097860





Institute of Sport - Sports Psychology Debrief Team


Tadhg MacIntyre
Tadhg MacIntyre (PhD) has worked in higher education for the past seven years. Both his Masters and doctoral research were supervised by Professor Aidan Moran (UCD) and he combines teaching and practice. He puts an emphasis on a client-centred approach to enhance personal growth, well being and performance. In the past he has conducted de-briefs after the 2004 Olympic and Paralympic events and has been team psychologist for Women's hockey and Irish rowing.



Tadhg MacIntyre profile pic

Kate Kirby
Since 2006, Kate Kirby (PhD) has worked as an applied sport psychology consultant for elite teams and athletes. She will be travelling to the Olympics as the sport psychologist for sailing and modern pentathlon. She is also the current Irish Senior Women's hockey team psychologist and works with Team Ireland golfers. Kate also lectures in sport psychology in UCD and Dublin Business School, and her primary research interest is in the psychology of doping. Originally from Cork, Kate sailed for Ireland at junior level and has been involved in hockey for many years, playing at school, university and club levels.



Kate Kirby profile pic

Kevin Clancy
Kevin Clancy is a self-employed Performance Psychologist, with an MSc from the University of Edinburgh and two undergraduate degrees from University College Cork. He works with high performance teams in Rowing Ireland, Tennis Ireland and Swim Ireland and is also the sport psychologist for the Cork Senior Gaelic Football team since 2009. Previously, Kevin worked at the IMG Academies in Florida and as a care worker within the HSE. His approach as a psychologist is athlete-centred with an emphasis on developing self-awareness and personal growth.


Kevin Clancy profile pic




Performance Transition Life-skills Sessions

As part of the Institute's Transition Support Programme a number of life-skills sessions are run post games. A detailed description of these sessions is outlined below.



Personal Planning 1- Where am I now?

So you’ve arrived back from the Olympics, you may have had an amazing experience or one that you would rather forget!. You may even have thrown everything at qualification for the Games and just missed out. In all cases the Games are now complete and most of you will now be either in recovery or looking to re-establish yourselves back into a routine. This session is designed to help you evaluate your current status and put some short term plans into place to help you get back into a routine.

Key Points:

- How have I been since the Games?

- How do things look for me at the moment?

- What options have I got?

- How do I decide what is next?

- How do I plan to address getting back into a routine?

- What support do I need to help evaluate my current status?



Personal Planning 2 - Where to next?

You’ve had your rest and recovery post-Games and started to re-establish a routine. You may have a few options in front of you and are starting to think about planning for the season and the road ahead. This session is designed to help you evaluate your options and get the wheels in motion to put your plans in place.

Key Points:

- Are you rested and recovered and ready to start planning?

- Will your plans have implications for you and/or others?

- How can you assess what those implications may be?

- What tasks do you have to complete to get your plans in to action?

- What support do you need to implement them?



Personal Planning 3 - 2012 and beyond

You have re-established your training and life routines and plans for the coming period and assessed what needs to be done to make those plans a reality. Looking at your longer terms plans will generate focus and help you to identify any potential issues or peak times of activity that you may need to prepare for in advance. Having a clear view of your training / competition plans alongside your life goals is very productive approach to planning ahead.

Key Points:

- What tasks are left to complete to put yourplans into place?

- Now that you have re-established equilibrium have you looked a bit further ahead?

- Have you looked at your sport and life goals in tandem to see if there are any clashes?

- Where are you heading to, have you thought about the next cycle?

- Where are you heading to, have you thought about life after sport?

- What support do you need with this type of planning and plan implementation?



Life Skills Development 1 - Public Speaking - How to tell your story and create a following

You have returned from the Games with many stories you can tell, and probably some you can’t. Many will be asked to speak in front of, or to a range of audiences from local schools to corporate or sporting organisations. This session will help you to decide on and create a story that will be interesting, insightful and educational for whatever audience you step in front of. The support in this area will help you to develop a ‘product’ that you can adapt in the future and ensure that you come across in a professional manner.

Key Points:

- What should I talk about?

- What will this audience want to know about my experience at the Games and in sport?

- How do I structure the talk? Should I make it interactive?

- How long is too long? How do I stop on time?

- What should I bring? Do I talk of develop a presentation?

- What support do you need to develop a professional presence?



Life Skills Development 2 - Managing your personal finances - budgeting, pensions and saving schemes

In returning from a Games campaign you may have found yourself putting off certain tasks. This maybe one of those things that was put on the ‘long finger’. Your return to training, potentially a change in personal circumstances or even a change in location in preparation for the next steps in your life or career may require paying specific attention to this area. This support will help you to evaluate your ‘current status’ and educate you about some financial decisions you may be looking at. This is a useful session for all even if you haven’t got any major financial decisions looming.

- I’m not very good with money who can help?

- Looking at my current plans how do I make sure that I manage my budget well?

- If my involvement in sport finished today, what position would I be in?

- How do I make provision for the future?

- How do I work out what funding and finance I need for the coming weeks/months?



Performance Transition 1 - Managing the return to work or education

Once the dust has settled on your return and your have decided on a direction for your life either in tandem with your future sporting aspirations or instead of them some in depth planning and organisation is required. Unravelling your options, evaluating what options are best for you or even returning to a previous role or course, the key to a successful transition is good preparation. The support in this area can help you to evaluate your options, prioritise your task list and develop any key skills that can help smooth your path into your chosen area.

Key Points:

- Have I settled on my plans for the future or do I need help deciding?

- Have I properly evaluated my options with a look to how it will blend with other elements of my life?

- Can I develop my planning and organisational skills?

- Do I know what the process is for furthering my options?

- Can this support help me to achieve any of the above?



Performance Transition 2 - A career in sport - key career planning options

Many of you have been working with the lifestyle team at the Institute over the last cycle. A lot of that work focuses on creating positive distractions while heavily involved in sport or making provision for life after your sporting career has finished. These distractions and planning activities are important components in an athlete’s life. With sport playing such a major part of our lives it often seems like the obvious choice for a career. This session helps to provide clarity around what options are available to you in the sporting landscape and what you need to put in place to enable your career options to become a reality. Some of this may involve formal learning and other elements could be project work, internships or mentor schemes.

Key points:

- Have you thought about a career in sport?

- If so, what areas have you been looking at?

- Have you got the qualifications and experience to fulfil this type of role?

- If not, what learning or experience do you need and how can you get it?

- Can this support help to provide information and advice on a current or future career path?



Performance Transition 3 - Life After sport - the retirement opportunity

At some stage in your athletic career will come the realisation that the time has come to re-prioritise and turn your hand to other elements of your life. This is something that is normal and comes to all involved in sport at some stage. It is well documented that those that prepare for this change in focus cope much better with it, transitioning out of the life of a sports person much better. This support can help you to evaluate your options and create a platform for you to make sure that this experience is a good one.

- Should I retire?

- I don’t want to retire yet but should I prepare for it?

- What will I do if I’m not training and competing?

- How have others dealt with retirement?

- What will it feel like and how can I make the most of what I have experienced and learned?

- How can this type of support help me, my family and future life be a successful and happy one?



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