Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Applied Sciences Honours


Faculty of Science and Technology

First Advisor

Dr Lynn Embrey


Retirement from sport is inevitable and will occur at some stage in every athlete's career. Retirement may be voluntary or involuntary and signifies a lifestyle change that may be a major impact for many athletes. Involuntary retirement may occur in relation to chronological ageing, injury or non-selection. This study undertook an in-depth examination of one type of involuntary exit from sport, that of non-selection. The purpose of this study was to explore, in-depth, the reactions and experiences of Australian athletes who were subject to non-selection from their sport. Supporting this main investigation were three sub questions which focused on factors that were problematic for the athletes, factors non-problematic for athletes and athlete recommendations to assist sporting organisations, administrators, coaches, selectors, significant others, and other athletes in dealing with non-selection from Australian sport. Two semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions were conducted with seven female and eight male state and national athletes. Athletes were current or former representatives in the three team sports of field hockey, cricket and water polo and were resident in Western Australia. Inductive content analysis of verbatim transcripts was used to establish categories of patterns or themes portraying the athletes' experiences of non-selection. The major theme to emerge was the lack of understanding and knowledge of the issues of non-selection and the subsequent impact on athletes. This lack of understanding was not limited to any one individual but encompassed sporting and non-sporting individuals such as the sporting officials and the athlete's family members. Athletes also perceived a strong political influence in relation to their non-selection. Although non-selection was initially a difficult time for many athletes in this study their enjoyment and fulfilment from sport saw the majority continue as participants at a lower level within the same sport.