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Getting gritty about practice and success: Motivational characteristics of great performers.

Published on Jan 1, 2017in Progress in Brain Research2.961
· DOI :10.1016/BS.PBR.2017.02.003
Nicola J. Hodges35
Estimated H-index: 35
(UBC: University of British Columbia),
Paul R. Ford21
Estimated H-index: 21
(University of Brighton)
+ 1 AuthorsA. Mark Williams57
Estimated H-index: 57
(UofU: University of Utah)
Abstract
We consider the data reported in the target article with respect to key motivational frameworks and characteristics, including grit and self-determined forms of motivation. Empirical data are reviewed that highlight the relationships between these concepts and practice and success. We highlight the concept of grit as a defining characteristic of the super-elite athletes, in reference to both their continued perseverance in the face of obstacles, as well as the increased motivation seemingly caused by such obstacles or setbacks. We discuss the dynamic nature of motivation with respect to cross-sectional and longitudinal age-related comparisons in athletes. Such research is necessary to better understand the characteristics that are potentially transitory or that are a consequence of success, rather than being causal in nature. In the final section, we provide evidence consistent with a profile of a super-elite athlete that is best defined with respect to coexisting types of motivations that have traditionally been considered both positive and negative with respect to their outcomes. The between group comparisons of highly successful athletes in the target article, is unusual yet important if we are to better understand the psychosocial profiles necessary to succeed, that are unbiased by age, practice, and competition experience.
  • References (32)
  • Citations (3)
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References32
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#1Lewis HardyH-Index: 2
#2Matthew Barlow (Bangor University)H-Index: 7
Last. Chelsea Warr (UK Sport)H-Index: 3
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Participants were 32 former GB athletes from Olympic sports, 16 Super-Elite athletes who had won multiple medals at major championships, and 16 matched Elite athletes who had not. In-depth interviews with the athletes, their coaches, and one of their parents explored all psychosocial aspects of their development and careers. Content analyses revealed that there were no differences between Super-Elite and Elite athletes with regard to family values, conscientiousness, or commitment to training. H...
38 CitationsSource
#1Brooke N. Macnamara (Case Western Reserve University)H-Index: 11
#2David Moreau (University of Auckland)H-Index: 14
Last. David Z. Hambrick (MSU: Michigan State University)H-Index: 37
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Why are some people more skilled in complex domains than other people? According to one prominent view, individual differences in performance largely reflect individual differences in accumulated amount of deliberate practice. Here, we investigated the relationship between deliberate practice and performance in sports. Overall, deliberate practice accounted for 18% of the variance in sports performance. However, the contribution differed depending on skill level. Most important, deliberate pract...
66 CitationsSource
#1Paul Larkin (USYD: University of Sydney)H-Index: 10
#2Donna O’Connor (USYD: University of Sydney)H-Index: 15
Last. A. Mark Williams (Brunel University London)H-Index: 57
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We examined whether soccer players who score low and high on the personality trait grit can be differentiated based on their sport-specific engagement and perceptual-cognitive expertise. Findings revealed that grittier players accumulated significantly more time in sport-specific activities including competition, training, play, and indirect involvement. Moreover, there was a significant main effect for performance on the perceptual-cognitive skills tests across groups, with grittier players per...
30 CitationsSource
#1Manuel Hornig (TUK: Kaiserslautern University of Technology)H-Index: 1
#2Friedhelm Aust (University of Mainz)H-Index: 1
Last. Arne Güllich (TUK: Kaiserslautern University of Technology)H-Index: 12
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AbstractThis study examined the developmental sporting activities of 52 German football first Bundesliga professionals (including 18 senior national team members) and 50 fourth to sixth league amateur players. They reported their volumes of organised football practice/training, including its “microstructure” (proportions of physical conditioning, skill exercises and playing forms), non-organised leisure football play and engagement in other sports through their career, respectively. Analyses rev...
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#1Paul R. FordH-Index: 21
#2Edward K. CoughlanH-Index: 3
Last. A. Mark WilliamsH-Index: 3
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#1Angela L. Duckworth (UPenn: University of Pennsylvania)H-Index: 45
#2James J. Gross (Stanford University)H-Index: 116
Last. Lisa Feldman Barrett L F (Stanford University)H-Index: 138
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Other than talent and opportunity, what makes some people more successful than others? One important determinant of success is self-control—the capacity to regulate attention, emotion, and behavior in the presence of temptation. A second important determinant of success is grit—the tenacious pursuit of a dominant superordinate goal despite setbacks. Self-control and grit are strongly correlated, but not perfectly so. This means that some people with high levels of self-control capably handle tem...
257 CitationsSource
#1Edward K. Coughlan (LJMU: Liverpool John Moores University)H-Index: 3
#2A. Mark Williams (LJMU: Liverpool John Moores University)H-Index: 57
Last. Paul R. Ford (LJMU: Liverpool John Moores University)H-Index: 21
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Performance improvement is thought to occur through engagement in deliberate practice. Deliberate practice is predicted to be challenging, effortful, and not inherently enjoyable. Expert and intermediate level Gaelic football players executed two types of kicks during an acquisition phase and pre-, post-, and retention tests. During acquisition, participants self-selected how they practiced and rated the characteristics of deliberate practice for effort and enjoyment. The expert group predominan...
39 CitationsSource
#1David T. Hendry (UBC: University of British Columbia)H-Index: 3
#2Peter R.E. Crocker (UBC: University of British Columbia)H-Index: 35
Last. Nicola J. Hodges (UBC: University of British Columbia)H-Index: 35
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AbstractBased upon predictions derived from the Developmental Model of Sports Participation, we tested whether hours in domain-specific play (self-led activities) and practice (coach-led activities) during childhood (~5–12 year) in an elite group of youth soccer players from the UK (N = 144) were related to motivation. Independent analysis of three different age groups (Under 13, 15 and 17 year) did not show relations between play and practice activities during childhood and global measures of m...
23 CitationsSource
#1Arne Güllich (TUK: Kaiserslautern University of Technology)H-Index: 12
#2Eike EmrichH-Index: 16
The developmental practice patterns leading to the highest levels of success remain a subject of debate. The present study purposes to extend the body of empirical research by analysing athletic biographies from a large sample of German national squad athletes across all Olympic sports (n1558; 57% male, 43% female). In a combined retrospective and longitudinal study utilising postal questionnaires, we evaluated the age at onset, volume, domain-specificity, variability in training and competition...
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#1Paul R. FordH-Index: 21
#2Nicola J. HodgesH-Index: 35
Last. A. Mark WilliamsH-Index: 3
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#1Bradley Fawver (UofU: University of Utah)H-Index: 5
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Abstract Previously, investigators have sought to clarify the role of psychological factors in the development of expertise across numerous sport domains; however, almost no empirical work exists on winter sport athletes. Using a retrospective design, we examined associations between psychological traits, engagement in practice-related activities, and performance among sub-elite level, youth alpine skiers. A total of 169 skiers (88 women) enrolled at professional development academies in the Uni...
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#1Samantha L. JordanH-Index: 2
#2Andreas WihlerH-Index: 9
Last. Gerald R. FerrisH-Index: 2
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Abstract Introduced into the literature a decade ago, grit originally defined as perseverance and passion for long-term goals has stimulated considerable research on positive effects primarily in the academic and military contexts, as well as attracted widespread media attention. Despite recent criticism regarding grit’s construct and criterion-related validity, research on grit has begun to spill over into the work context as well. In this chapter, the authors provide an overview of the initial...
Source
#1Lew Hardy (Bangor University)H-Index: 51
#2Matthew Barlow (Bangor University)H-Index: 7
Last. Chelsea Warr (UK Sport)H-Index: 3
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Abstract Hardy et al. (2017) reported the findings of a large-scale, multisource, qualitative study that examined the commonalities of, and discriminators between, a group of super-elite (SE) and a group of elite (E) athletes who were matched on gender, sport, discipline, and era. Fifteen research teams who are actively engaged in research in the domain then provided critical commentaries on the target paper. In our response to these commentaries, we briefly remind the reader of the primary find...
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