David T. Hendry 1,2 & Nicola J. Hodges 1
In sport, deliberate practice theory has significantly impacted research on expertise and what has been known as talent/skill development. A wealth of data shows how practice volume distinguishes across groups that vary in their level of skill attained. This theory has led to models of skill development which vary in their emphasis on early or late engagement in deliberate practice and early engagement in play and diversified sport involvement as compared to practice. Deliberate practice theory has been widely studied in dynamic team sports, such as soccer. Here we review research from work we have conducted over the past six years, based on comparisons of highly elite male and female soccer players. We have evaluated prospectively and cross-sectionally, the developmental activities most related to successful transitions and adult success at the highest level of sport, as well as relations between these activities and technical and tactical skills development and indices of motivation. Our data show that successful, adult elite athletes, in the UK and Canada, are defined by what is termed the early engagement pathway. This is characterized by majority engagement in the chosen sport since early childhood, although not exclusive engagement, and engagement in relatively high volumes of self-directed play, in addition to high volumes of more formal, structured practice. We discuss issues with some of this research, including those related to measurement, and present ideas for future research based against the backdrop of the deliberate practice framework.
David T. Hendry 1,2 & Nicola J. Hodges 1
Sean Müller 1, Fleur van Rens 1, John Brenton 1, Khaya Morris-Binelli 1,
Benjamin Piggott 2, Simon M. Rosalie 3, & Matthew Burgin 4
Practitioners in a variety of sports seek unique ways to train athletes to better prepare them for competition. In this position paper, we argue that inclusion of psycho-perceptual-motor skills, from the fields of sport psychology and sport expertise, is crucial, but underutilized in the assessment and training of athletes. First, a brief introduction is provided as to why psycho-perceptual-motor skill is vital for training athletes. Second, examples are discussed relating to key concepts. These include the following: assessment of expertise discriminators such as visual anticipation under pressure contexts, incorporation of sports analytics and performance analysis to aid reflection upon previous experiences of good anticipation and coping with pressure, use of qualitative and quantitative measures to understand processes underlying performance and learning, as well as design of representative tasks for assessment and training anticipation under pressure contexts. Third, some recommendations are made to practitioners of sports teams to assist them in taking advantage of psycho-perceptual-motor skill to better prepare athletes for competition. Collectively, we hope this paper stimulates collaboration between practitioners of sports teams and scientists to create a greater focus upon integrated sport psychology and sport expertise in the training of athletes.
Developmental Biographies of Olympic Super-Elite and Elite Athletes: A Multidisciplinary Pattern Recognition Analysis
Arne Güllich 1, Lew Hardy 2, Ludmilla Kuncheva 2, Stewart Laing 3, Matthew Barlow 2, Lynne Evans 4, Tim Rees 5, Bruce Abernethy 6, Jean Côté 7, Chelsea Warr 3, & Lizzie Wraith 8
This multidisciplinary study used pattern recognition analyses to examine the developmental biographies of 16 Great British Olympic and World Champions (“Super-Elite”) and 16 matched international athletes who had not won major medals (“Elite”). Athlete, coach and parent interviews (260 total interview hours) combined in-depth qualitative and quantitative methods. A combination of demographics, psychosocial characteristics, coach and family relationships, practice, competition, and performance development discriminated Super-Elite from Elite athletes with > 90% accuracy. Compared to Elite athletes, Super-Elite athletes were characterized by: (1) An early critical negative life experience in close proximity to significant positive sport-related events; (2) higher relative importance of sport over other aspects of life, stronger obsessiveness/perfectionism, and sport-related ruthlessness/selfishness; (3) conjoint outcome and mastery focus, and use of counterphobic and/or “total preparation” strategies to maintain/enhance performance under pressure; (4) coaches who better met their physical and psychosocial needs; (5) coming back after severe performance setbacks during adulthood, and career “turning points” leading to enhanced determination to excel; (6) more pronounced diversified youth sport engagement, and prolonged extensive sport-specific practice and competitions; and (7) continued performance improvement over more years during adulthood, eventually attaining their (first) gold medal after 21 ± 6 practice years. The findings are discussed relative to potential causal interactions and theoretical implications.
Paulo Ventura, Miguel Domingues*, Inês Ferreira*, Mariana Madeira*, Ana Martins*, Maria Neto*, and Marta Pereira*
*These authors contributed equally to this work.
Holistic processing of words has been previously observed. When readers have to decide whether the target part of a study and test words are the same, their performance is affected by the irrelevant part. The goal of the present study was to provide an empirical test of the idea that holistic word processing is involved in expert reading (fast and parallel letter reading pattern) by exploring the perceptual expertise limits of the neuronal systems dedicated to reading. We presented adult readers with words in the composite paradigm that were degraded by word rotation (22.5º and 67.5º). Rotations were applied clockwise or counterclockwise. A word rotation of 22.5º is below the threshold of the perceptual expertise of the Visual Word Form (VWF) System, while a rotation of 67.5º is above the threshold of the perceptual expertise of the VWF system. The word composite effect was found only for a degree of rotation within the field of expertise of the ventral visual system, thus within the limits for fast, parallel-letter reading. We thus showed that word holistic processing occurs within the functional, fast, and parallel reading route.
Wealth Generation as a Form of Expertise: An Examination from 2002-2016 of Elite Education, Cognitive Ability, and the Gender Gap Among Billionaires
Jonathan Wai 1 & Tomoe Kanaya 2
The study of expertise has focused on areas such as chess, music, and sports. Here, we argue that wealth generation can also be considered a form of expertise. This study examines 14,246 global Forbes billionaires across 15 years (2002-2016) to examine historical trends of elite education and cognitive ability, looking at the world (and U.S. specifically) as a function of industry, country, sex, self-made status, and net worth. The results reveal that the elite education and cognitive ability level of billionaires has remained relatively stable over time, suggesting the billionaire filtering structure has remained relatively unchanged. Yet, at least within the U.S., the percentage of elite educated and cognitively talented billionaires entering the technology and especially the finance and investment sectors has increased over time. These results suggest that one factor to consider in increasing inequality in the U.S. may be the role of human talent in selecting areas of occupational expertise that have amplified their ability to generate wealth in more recent years. This paper broadens the definition of expertise to include wealth generation—the idea that the development of wealth expertise may have skills that transcend field—and suggests deliberate practice cannot be the full explanation of success for this area of expertise. A multidisciplinary perspective can help test the strength and generality of expertise theories, more comprehensive models of expertise should account for abilities and education, and the investigation of expertise models should account for historical changes.