The increasing demands of elite sports make it difficult for talented young athletes to balance school and sport. This paper investigates the multidimensional policy effectiveness of elite sport schools (ESSs) in secondary education in Flanders. 408 elite athletes who graduated from an ESS, and 341 from mainstream schools, completed an online survey. The data showed no clear evidence of more effective outputs (performance), or more positive evaluation of throughputs (processes) by athletes who attended an ESS. Athletes who did not attend an ESS received less support services, but those who did receive such services were generally more satisfied. They were equally satisfied about their coaches’ expertise. Only training facilities were rated generally better in an ESS. The study concluded that evaluating effectiveness of ESS (at input-throughput-output level) requires a tailor-made, sport specific approach. Furthermore, as ESS is only a small part of a total career, many other factors influence long-term success.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1596-1621
Number of pages26
JournalSport in Society
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - May 2016

    Research areas

  • elite sport school, dual careers, talent development, policy effectiveness, elite sport policy, centralisation, elite athletes, input-throughput-output

ID: 23242710