Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Self-Identification Features of Professional Athletes in Modern Russia

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Self-Identification Features of Professional Athletes in Modern Russia

Article excerpt


Professional sport is considered as the labor activity of the individual, aimed at "the production of sports achievements." Consequently, a professional athlete does not just get a sports result in a competitive fight, but it produces a sports result, which is then "consumed" by society. As noted in the work of Babiak 2009, professional sport is a unique social institution for the production and consumption of sporting achievements in society. In a number of Babiak works, it is noted that, depending on the quality of the sports result, the professional receives a certain remuneration of a financial nature, and also claims a higher status position, which in turn opens up to the athlete the possibility of producing a qualitatively higher result and greater reward. This activity requires a lot of physical, intellectual, psychological costs, "social sacrifices" associated with the lack of time to communicate with family and friends, soul searches, self-development, rest, etc.

The activity of a professional athlete is characterized by the early age of activity cessation, as well as the difficulties of physiological adaptation: injuries, problems with hormones, weight, the effects of stress, "sports medicine", etc. By the degree of health impact, professional sports can be compared to "harmful production". Professional athletes are on the same list with miners, metallurgists, test pilots, submariners, etc. However, the specificity of professional sports lies in the peculiarities of building mechanisms for the motivation of an athlete by self-identification in the coordinates of the achievements of high sports results and the corresponding status and profitability. Understanding the interrelations of these processes is the subject of this study.


Formation of the personality of a professional athlete is determined by the institutional specifics of the sports profession, so it is necessary to determine what the context of the study will be understood as "profession" as a whole, and what is the essence of professional sport as a type of profession?

The "profession" can be understood as a social function, the actual social activity, as well as the institutional sphere that defines the normative and value orientations of the activity. As a result of this function, individual and group social needs are satisfied, and for a professional this function brings income. The basis of this approach to understanding the profession can be found in the works of Weber 2013, Parsons 1991, Zuckerman H. & Merton R. K. 1971, Westerbeek H. M. & Shilbury D. 2003 and other authors.

To understand the origins of professional sports, one must turn to the experience of forming "unions" and "associations", which, according to Eisenberg 2006, were the interpretation of club sports. For example, in the work of Lukaschuk 2009 it is noted that as far back as the XVIII - XIX centuries in England, sport was closely associated with conspicuous consumption. Occupation of sports activities and maintenance at their own expense of professional athletes, participation in tournaments for money, stakes, provided for substantial cash spending and thus determined the high position of gentlemen in British society. Thus, "athletesserving gentlemen became professionals: controlled and disciplined by employees".

Sport of the middle class was intended not so much and not only for the possibility of ostentatious spending and "club communication about", but for personal pleasure, contemplation of the competition and therefore defiantly declared himself amateur. A similar doctrine was adopted in Soviet society. Since the competition from a game event turns into a predominantly sporting one, the main significant features of which, along with strict rationalization, have become specialization, the achievement of material success as a result of their own work in sports arenas, sport has become a profession. …

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