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What characterises a good specialisation process? A qualitative inquiry among 17 Danish elite athletes Louise Kamuk Storm & Mette Krogh Christensen Institute.

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Presentation on theme: "What characterises a good specialisation process? A qualitative inquiry among 17 Danish elite athletes Louise Kamuk Storm & Mette Krogh Christensen Institute."— Presentation transcript:

1 What characterises a good specialisation process? A qualitative inquiry among 17 Danish elite athletes Louise Kamuk Storm & Mette Krogh Christensen Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics

2 Storm & Christensen, ECSS 2010 AIM 1)to describe how 17 Danish elite athletes specialises 2) to explore what characterises a good specialisation process to these athletes A new understanding of specialisation processes

3 Traditional understandings Early or late specialisation? Storm &Christensen, ECSS 2010 Sampling years – diversification (6-12 years) Focus on several sports DELIBERATE PLAY Sampling years – diversification (6-12 years) Focus on several sports DELIBERATE PLAY Early specialisation(6 years) Focus on one sport DELIBERATE PRACTICE Early specialisation(6 years) Focus on one sport DELIBERATE PRACTICE Specialising years (12-15 years) Reduce number of sports DELIBERATE PLAY AND DELIBERATE PRACTICE Specialising years (12-15 years) Reduce number of sports DELIBERATE PLAY AND DELIBERATE PRACTICE Investment years(15-19 years) Focus in one sport Investment years(15-19 years) Focus in one sport Expert performance Reduced health and enjoyment Expert performance Enhanced health and enjoyment Introduction to sport Inspired by: Developmental Model of Sport Participation Côté et al 2007

4 Diversity among sports and biographical data SPORTS 10 different sports individual, pair and team sport BIOGRAPHICAL DATA national and international elite male and female average age 25 years national team Storm & Christensen, ECSS 2010 Questionnaire 720 athletes 217 athletes accept Selection of 30 athletes Contact via e- mail 12 interviews Re-contact and new contact 12 athletes 5 interviews 17 interviews

5 Qualitative inquiry Storm & Christensen, ECSS 2010 In-depth biographical interviews Kvale (2008) Case study analysis Flyvbjerg (2006) Interpretation Gadamer (1975)

6 Pathways of Danish elite athletes Storm & Christensen, ECSS 2010 Early focus on one sport via deliberate practice (n=1) Late entry to primary sport (n=2) Sampling and late specialisation (n=8) Early focus on one sport via fun and being together and late investment (n=6)

7 A third pathway Storm & Christensen, ECSS 2010 Sampling years – diversification (6-12 år) Focus on several sports DELIBERATE PLAY Sampling years – diversification (6-12 år) Focus on several sports DELIBERATE PLAY Early specialisation (6 years+) Focus on one sport DELIBERATE PRACTICE Early specialisation (6 years+) Focus on one sport DELIBERATE PRACTICE Specialising years (12-15 years) Reduce number of sports DELIBERATE PLAY AND DELIBERATE PRACTICE Specialising years (12-15 years) Reduce number of sports DELIBERATE PLAY AND DELIBERATE PRACTICE Investment years (15-19 years) Focus in one sport Investment years (15-19 years) Focus in one sport Expert performance Reduced health and enjoyments Expert performance Enhanced health and enjoyment Introduction to sport Notice: This is a way of illustrating the empirical data of the present study in the light of the two well-known traditional understandings of specialisation. This is not a new model, to that the foundation is way to limited. Early focus on one sport Fun Non-serious Being-together Late investment Serious Competitive Individual Expert performance

8 Common features regarding experiences of sports participation Storm Christensen, ECSS years of age age Fun Enjoyable Being-together Serious Competitive Individual 1) Transition to another club 2) Selected for National Team 3)Transition within the club

9 A cultural fingerprint Danish sports originated from popular movements in different social milieus. These milieus and social movements gave different and rivalling impulses to the Danish practice and understanding of sports Eichberg & Loland (2010) Storm & Christensen, ECSS 2010 Sport for all - regardless of level, age and gender Sports confederation of Denmark

10 Conclusions Specialisation processes are unique trajectories Research has tended to focus on two common trajectories leading to excellence in sport. This study outlines a third pathway - maybe more?? There is a cohesion between cultural aspects and specialisation – we must look at the environments in talent development We need a more detailed discussion of specialisation processes Storm & Christensen, ECSS 2010

11 REFERENCES Côté J, Baker, J., Abernethy, B. (2007): Practice and Play in the Development of Sport Expertise. In Eklund R, Tenenbaum G (eds.) Handbook of Sport Psychology 3 rd ed. pp New York Wiley Ericsson KA et al (1993): The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance. In Psychological Review 100 pp Eichberg, H, Loland, S (2010): Nordic sports - from social movements via emotional to bodily movement - and back again? In: Sport in Society, 13: 4, Flyvbjerg, B. (2006): Five Misunderstandings About Case-Study Research In:Qualitative Inquiry.;12: Gadamer, HG. (1975): Truth and Method, Seabury Press, NY Kvale, S. (1996): Interviews: an introduction to qualitative research interviewing, Sage, London Henriksen K et al (2009): Holistic approach to athletic talent development environments: A successful sailing milieu In: Psychology of Sport and Exercise (in press) Thank you for your attention ! Thanks to The Danish Council for Independent Research | Humanities who allocated research grant to the research project and thereby made it possible to realise Contact:


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