Team Danmark

27 November 2018
Team Danmark

Team Danmark / Denmark ,

According to Natalia Stanbulova, phd. (in Careers across Cultures, 2013) the dominant research trends in Dual Career of athletes policies and practices in Denmark revolve around an individual perspective (career trajectories including issues of dual careers) and a holistic ecological perspective (the role of the environment in forwarding athletic development). These trends are clearly visible in the practical efforts to support athletes.

In Denmark, there is a comprehensive dual career policy at national, regional, and local levels, including sport-specific and education-specific features. In particular, dual career policies are supported and implemented through different programs: Team Danmark, Study4Player, Job4player, and FIFPro Online Academy. Funded in 1984 by the Danish Government, Team Danmark aims to ensure the best services to elite athletes of 28 National Sport Federations ( The Danish Ministry of Culture and Sports Federation, through the sale of broadcasting and media rights, sponsorships, and marketing rights, provides funds for ensuring several Team Danmark services for elite athletes (i.e., sports medicine, physiology and psychology, education and career consulting, housing, and training facilities). Denmark - elite athletes more than 1000, Dual career policy scope - national, regional and sport and education specific.

Team Danmark, was established by law in 1984. It was created in response to a wish that Danish athletes should have better opportunities to compete on equal terms with those of other countries, who were increasingly receiving public subsidy.

“The Advancement of Elite Sports Act (1984) passed by the Danish parliament, the Folketing, among other things stated that Team Danmark should implement, coordinate and improve joint initiatives for elite sports in Denmark. But it was emphasised that this should not happen at any and every cost. Thus, it was, and remains, a characteristic of Team Danmark’s activities that the organisation, in a socially responsible way, provides active athletes with opportunities to qualify for the labour market, as well as for a sports career at international level.” ( 

Team Danmark has established some 25 elite centres and 80 training centres in 30 locations around Denmark. In addition, there are special projects and talent development schemes in around 30 specialist associations in 150 locations.

According to their athletic achievements, elite athletes are classified as a World Class Athlete (i.e.,ranked in the top-eight in recent World Championships/Olympic Games),  an Elite Athlete (having the possibility to achieve a top-eight position at the next World Championships/Olympic Games), and a Team Danmark Athlete (included in youth or adult national squads).




Specifically regarding dual career, Team Danmark cooperates with the National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark (DIF), to ensure that the development of elite sport is compatible with the Danish cultural policy and with a holistic development of elite athletes.

In particular, it provides individual financial support, guidance, education and training to athletes. Team Danmark has partnerships with 6  Universities and the programs are related to all kind of educations. There are 3 sport faculties in Denmark. Education is free for every one in Denmark and all students is getting a financial support on about 800 euros per month. Elite athletes have to meet the same academic requirements as every one else. Some of the educations as teacher, physiotherapist and nutrient is provided online by different institutions. Some of the higher academic institutions in Denmark provide elite sport infrastructure, professional training support or elite sport development programs for the elite student athletes.

The mentioned below high educational institutions offer many services for elite athletes and have a contract with Team Denmark:

They offer individual educational plan, counseling, personal tutoring, flexible timetabling, distance learning, study bodies, mentors, extra lessons.

Team Danmark has a practice to appoint a dual career coordinator to help individual athletes to negotiate flexible academic paths.  The dual career coordinator helps individual athletes to fix suitable exam dates according to their training routine and also supports the EAs in many issues related to the combination of elite sport and education.

For youth student-athletes attending secondary education, a number of public schools offer special sport classes with integrated training sessions into the school schedule and allow them an extra year (i.e., four instead of three) to finish their secondary education (Henriksen and Christensen, 2013). Finally, Team Danmark joined the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athlete Career Program in 2010, established by the IOC and Adecco in 2005. The program is focused on elite athletes and provides for a number of educational courses, job advertisements and information needed by EAs for their further development and life placement.

 For youth student-athletes attending secondary education, a number of public schools offer special sport classes with integrated training sessions into the school schedule and allow them an extra year (i.e., four instead of three) to finish their secondary education (Henriksen and Christensen, 2013)  

“The focus on talent development and specialization pathways has resulted in approximately 20 federations producing sport-specific ‘age appropriate training concepts’ that include recommendations regarding early vs. late specialization and the amount and nature of training at different stages in athletes' development. The interest in dual career issues has helped launch a number of initiatives assisting athletes overcome difficulties related to their careers, and more specifically to make it easier to combine sport and education. One such initiative involves the creation of special sport classes in a number of public schools, which are widely distributed over Denmark. This initiative gathers motivated athletes (age 13–16) together in classes with like-minded individuals and integrates morning training sessions into the school schedule (Team Denmark, 2010).

A second initiative at the upper secondary level (age 16–20) is the Team Denmark high school program, which allows talented athletes to spend an extra year (four instead of three) finishing high school or similar forms of upper secondary education. A recent evaluation of the initiative (Andersen & Storm, 2009) found that student-athletes had a dropout rate comparable to non-athlete students; that most athletes found the extra year very helpful; that the student-athletes, on average, achieved similar grades as non-athlete students; and that satisfaction was greater in all-athlete classes than in classes where a few athletes were integrated with ‘regular’ students. “(Natalia Stambulova, Careers across Cultures, 2013)


As framework Team Danmark uses the ecological approach in its career assistance practices. “The ecological approach is also visible in the work of Team Denmark's sport psychology team. Sport psychology in Denmark was until recently characterized by a diversity of approaches with little overarching consensus on the practitioners' professional philosophy and intervention strategies. In 2008, Team Denmark decided to enhance the quality and consistency of applied sport psychology services in Danish elite sport by employing a permanent staff of sport psychologists and formulating an overarching professional philosophy (Henriksen, Diment & Hansen, 2011). The professional philosophy includes intervention strategies inspired by the holistic ecological approach. For example, the sport psychology team arranges courses not only for athletes but also for coaches and parents. Second, the sport psychology practitioner not only works with the athletes but often advises sporting organizations on how they can create optimal performance environments. Third, the practitioner often follows athletes in training and competition rather than just inviting them to his or her office. Finally, sport psychologists help federations to design specific sport psychology programs adapted not only to a particular sport but also to the culture of a particular national team. From a more traditional career assistance perspective, the Team Denmark sport psychology team also teaches an obligatory basic course in sport psychology for younger athletes. This course places major emphasis on discussing the athletes' expectations towards their career paths and on preparing them to deal with career transition. “ (Natalia Stambulova, Careers across Cultures, 2013)