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The Development of Psychological Talent in U.S.

Olympic Champions
FINAL GRANT REPORT December 2001

Daniel Gould, Ph.D. Michigan State University


210 IM Sports Circle Building Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 48864-2041 517-432-0175 (phone) 517-353-5363 (fax) drgould@msu.edu

Kristen Dieffenbach, M.S. & Aaron Moffett, M.S. University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Department of Exercise & Sport Science

Olympic Talent Development Contents Contents.................................................................................................................................2 Acknowledgements ............................................................................................................... 5 Executive Summary............................................................................................................... 6 Scientific Abstract .................................................................................................................17 Rationale and Literature Review ...........................................................................................20 Method...................................................................................................................................23 Sample ...........................................................................................................23 Interview Guides ...........................................................................................24 Interviewer and Interview Procedures...........................................................25 Mental Skills and Attributes Assessments ....................................................25 Trait Anxiety ..................................................................................... 25 Hardiness ........................................................................................... 26 Multidimensional Perfectionism ....................................................... 26 Optimism ........................................................................................... 26 Hope ..................................................................................................27 Sport Motivation................................................................................ 27 Task and Ego Orientation..................................................................27 Test of Performance Strategies.......................................................... 28 Athletic Coping Skills Inventory 28...............................................28 Results ...................................................................................................................................29 Data Analysis.................................................................................................29 Quantitative Assessment Psychological Characteristics .............................. 30 Sport (Trait) Anxiety Scale ...............................................................30 Hardiness Personal Views Survey II .............................................. 30 Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale.............................................. 30 Optimism Life Orientation Test Revised .................................... 31 The Adult Trait Hope Scale............................................................... 31 Task and Ego Orientation Questionnaire .......................................... 31 Sport Motivation Scale ......................................................................31 Test of Performance Strategies.......................................................... 32 Athletic Coping Skills Inventory 28...............................................33 Qualitative Assessment Psychological Characteristics ................................. 34 General Personality Characteristics and Values................................36 Performance Enhancement................................................................ 37 Motivational Issues and Orientations ................................................ 39 Ability to Handle Adversity and Pressure and Psychological Characteristics to Overcome Adversity................................. 39 Other Psychological Categories ........................................................ 40

Olympic Talent Development Qualitative Motives for Involvement ............................................................ 40 Early Years Motivation ..................................................................... 42 Middle Years Motivation .................................................................. 43 Elite Years Motivation ...................................................................... 44 Comparison of Motivation Across Phases of Athlete Development............. 45 Qualitative Perceptions of Physical Characteristics ...................................... 46 Athletic Background Abilities and Talent......................................... 47 Having the Right Physical System for the Sport ............................... 48 Genetic Endowment .......................................................................... 48 Other Higher Order Categories ......................................................... 49 Psychological Characteristic Development: Sources of Influence................ 50 Psychological Characteristic Development: Modes of Influence ................. 51 Modes Within the Community .......................................................... 51 Modes Within the Non-Sport Personal Source ................................. 52 Modes Within the Sport Process Source ........................................... 52 Competition ........................................................................... 53 Nature of the sport .................................................................53 Sport program/ organization.................................................. 54 Training ................................................................................. 54 Sport adversity....................................................................... 54 Modes Within the Individual Development Source .......................... 54 Genetics ................................................................................. 55 Self-development...................................................................55 Maturity ................................................................................. 55 Modes Within the Sport Environment Personnel Source.................. 55 Coaches..................................................................................57 Teammates.............................................................................57 Sport Psychology Consultants............................................... 58 Other/ former Elite Athletes .................................................. 58 Competitors ........................................................................... 58 Agents....................................................................................58 Modes Within the Family Source...................................................... 58 Siblings .................................................................................. 60 Grandparents..........................................................................60 Significant Others.................................................................. 61 Family Environment ..............................................................61 General Family Characteristics ............................................. 61 Parents ................................................................................... 61 Parenting Practices ........................................................................................63 Parenting Overview ........................................................................... 63 Family Sport Environment ................................................................ 65 General Influence .............................................................................. 68 General Parenting Style and Characteristics ..................................... 68 Goals..................................................................................................70 Larger Family Issues ......................................................................... 71 Motivation ......................................................................................... 72 Parent-Athlete Relationship...............................................................73 Provide Support .................................................................................74

Olympic Talent Development Negative Factors................................................................................ 75 Taught................................................................................................76 Coaching Practices ........................................................................................79 Coaching Overview ........................................................................... 79 Coach-Athlete Relationship...............................................................81 Coach Style and Characteristics ........................................................ 84 Goals..................................................................................................86 Motivational Climate......................................................................... 87 Support ..............................................................................................88 Taught................................................................................................88 Other ..................................................................................................91 Discussion..............................................................................................................................92

Characteristics of Outstanding Athletes ........................................................92 Psychological Strengths and Characteristics ..................................... 92 Motivation for Involvement .............................................................. 94 Physical Characteristics.....................................................................94 The Development of Psychological Talent ................................................... 95 Sources and Modes of Psychological Talent Development .............. 95 The Role of Parents .......................................................................... 95 The Role of Coaches .........................................................................96 Dealing with Adversity and the Costs of Talent Development..................... 97 Strengths and Limitations..............................................................................98 Future Research Directions ...........................................................................98 Implications for Guiding Practice ................................................................. 99 Psychological Characteristics Results Implications for Coaches.................. 99 Talent Development Parenting Education..................................................... 101 Conclusion.....................................................................................................104 References .............................................................................................................................105 Footnotes ...............................................................................................................................108 Appendices ............................................................................................................................109 A. B. C. D. Athlete Interview Guide ..........................................................................109 Coach Interview Guide............................................................................113 Parent/ Guardian/ Significant Other Interview Guide .............................116 Athlete Psychological Assessments ........................................................ 119

Olympic Talent Development Acknowledgements

This research was supported by a grant from the Sport Science and Technology Division of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). The authors would like to thank the sport psychology staff for their assistance. A special thanks is extended to the athletes, coaches and parents/ significant others/ siblings who so freely gave of their time to take part in this project.

Olympic Talent Development

The Development of Psychological Talent in U.S. Olympic Champions Executive Summary


Need for the Present Study
If the USOC is to sustain its competitive excellence in Olympic competition, much more must be known about talent development in U.S. athletes. Several large-scale studies (Bloom, 1985; Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde, Whalen, & Wong, 1993) on talent development across a variety of domains (music, art, science, sport) show that helping individuals develop their abilities is not just a process of identifying talented people or providing them with financial support. To turn talent into actual achievements, talented individuals must develop specific psychological skills, orientations, and habits and have the opportunity to develop their mental and physical skills in supportive environments comprised of significant others who provide various types of support. However, few studies to date have been conducted on talent development in elite athletes, especially Olympic champions. A need, then, existed to better understand the psychological characteristics of Olympic champions and how they developed these talents.

Project Purpose
This study was designed to examine the process of psychological talent development in Olympic champions by first identifying the psychological talents of these outstanding performers and then determining what individuals / institutions, and strategies influenced the development of these talents. Particular emphasis was placed on identifying parenting and coaching practices perceived to have influenced psychological talent development, especially as they pertained to Blooms (1985) three phases of the elite athletes career.

How Was the Study Conducted


Ten current or former U.S. Olympic champions with outstanding performances took part in in-depth interviews, as were one of their coaches (n = 10), and a parent, guardian, or significant other (n =10). These athletes had competed in one or more Olympic Games and had an average of 2.4 Olympic games each (range 1 to 4). They were chosen based on an analysis of Olympic Games performance records and participant availability. Between them these athletes had won 32 Olympic medals (28 gold, 3 silver, and 1 bronze), with an average of 3.2 Olympic medals per participant (range 1 to 5). Questions focused on the psychological and emotional attributes of the athlete, the process by which these attributes developed, and the culture supporting his or her psychological talent development. A battery of psychological inventories (trait anxiety, hardiness, perfectionism, optimism, trait hope, sport motivation, task and ego goal orientation, psychological skills and strategies, coping) was also administered to each athlete to identify his or her psychological strengths. All interviews were tape recorded, transcribed verbatim, and then content analyzed by three investigators. Specifically, each investigator studied tapes of the interviews and read and

Olympic Talent Development

reread verbatim transcripts. Raw themes (quotes or paraphrased quotes representing a meaningful point or thought) were individually identified and consensually validated in 300 hours of group meetings with the three investigators present. Raw themes were then organized into patterns of like responses in the data (e.g., confidence to try new things, believed in self, never doubted self), and a summary label for the category was determined (selfconfidence). Athlete, coach, and parent responses were summarized for each medal winner, and an integrated profile of each case was comprised. Additionally, descriptive statistics were used to examine the quantitative data obtained from the battery of psychological inventories administered to the participating athletes. Psychological strengths and limitations were determined by examining the magnitude of the participants own responses on the psychological instruments administered. In cases where elite athlete norms exist (e.g., TOPS), participant scores were compared to existing norms for elite athletes. Results were also compared with findings from other studies that assessed elite athletes.

Major Findings Characteristics of Champions


After an extensive review of the literature, Williams and Krane (2001) identified a number of psychological characteristics of highly successful athletes, as well as the mental skills these athletes used to achieve optimal psychological states. Characteristics included self-regulation of arousal, high confidence, better concentration and focus, an in control but not forcing it attitude, positive imagery and self-talk, and high determination and commitment. Skills used to achieve peak psychological states included imagery, goal setting, thought control strategies, arousal management, well-developed competition plans, welldeveloped coping strategies, and pre-competitive mental preparation plans. The quantitative and qualitative results collected with these Olympic champions paralleled these results almost exactly. Specifically, as a group these Olympians were found to be characterized by: The Ability to Focus Sport Intelligence Confidence Intrinsic Motivation Mental Toughness Ability to Cope Coachability High Optimism Hope/ Goal Setting Ability Competitiveness High Drive Adaptive Perfectionism

Automaticity: The Ability to Click Into Automatic Performance Emotional Control: Ability to Relax and Activate

Olympic Talent Development

What Strategies Were Used to Influence Psychological Talent Development


Results showed that many individuals and institutions were perceived to influence the development of psychological attributes in these outstanding performers. These included: the community, family, non-sport personnel (e.g., teachers, friends), the individual athlete him or herself, sport environment/ personnel (e.g., coaches, agents), and the sport process itself.

Moreover, modes of influence were both direct, like teaching or emphasizing certain psychological lessons, and indirect, involving modeling or unknowingly creating certain psychological environments. These results supported the work of Bloom (1985) and Csikszentmihaly and colleagues (1993) in showing that the psychological development of outstanding athletes takes place over a long-time period and is influenced by a variety of individuals and factors. This long-term process involves both the talented person as well as a strong support system. Although the interview guide was organized around Blooms (1985) three career phases of elite performer development it became clear that all 10 athletes experiences easily fit into these stages. Hence, in the first stage (the early years) the athlete developed a love for the sport, had a great deal of fun, received encouragement from significant others, was free to explore the activity, and achieved a good deal of success. Parents also instilled the value of hard work and doing things well during the early years. In the second phase (the precision phase) a master coach or teacher promoted long-term systematic skill learning in the talented individual. The focus was on technical mastery, technique, and excellence in skill development. Finally, in the third phase (the elite years) an individual continued to work with a master teacher (coach) and practiced many hours a day to turn training and technical skills into personalized performance excellence. During this phase there was a realization that the activity was significant in ones life.

The Role of Parents


Not surprisingly, parents and families were perceived to play a critical role in psychological talent development. They were found to provide financial, logistical, and social-emotional support. Specifically, they: were very committed to their child, modeled an active life style, exposed their child to different sports, transported their child, attended games and practices, and provided considerable encouragement and support.

Olympic Talent Development While families clearly supported and encouraged participation, in most cases they exerted little pressure to win.

Most interesting were the findings that families emphasized an optimistic belief in the childs ability to succeed or can do attitude. This is consistent with research that has found that a higher rate of parental encouragement was correlated with perceived physical competence for children. Families also modeled hard work and discipline, a finding consistent with research showing that parents of highly successful individuals espoused or modeled values related to achievement, such as hard work, success, being active and persistence. This optimistic achievement-oriented climate created by parents, then, helped develop the confidence and motivation these athletes needed for future success. At the same time parents emphasized the attitude, if you are going to do it, do it right. They also modeled a hard work ethic, held high (but reasonable) expectations and standards for their child, and emphasized a stick to it and follow-through on commitments attitude. These results are consistent with Blooms (1985) conclusion that the successful development of a talented individual requires the facilitation of disciplined involvement while avoiding excessive expectations. This is also consistent with Csikzentmihalyi et al.s (1993) complex family notion that these families are both integrated and differentiated. Integrated in that they were stable in their sense of support and consistency. Differentiated in that they encouraged their children to individually seek out new challenges and opportunities. Finally, with current concerns on early sport specialization and excessive pressure to win, it is interesting that in the early phase of the athletes career, the majority of these parents did not have winning or the Olympic Games as an objective of participation. Instead, they focused on their childs happiness, a balance of fun and development, and the general developmental benefits of participation. While there was some emphasis on winning and success, these were not the predominant objectives of participation. At the same time parents emphasized working hard, having a positive attitude, and discipline. Throughout the middle and elite phases of the athletes career, many parents also played an important role in helping to keep winning and success in perspective. The roles of the parents also changed over time (from leader to follower role over three phases) supporting the research of Ct (1999).

The Role of Coaches


Like parents, coaches were also found to be a primary influence on the athletes psychological development. They did this in a number of ways including: emphasizing certain things such as hard work and discipline or having fun, having characteristics that facilitated athlete trust, proving encouragement and support, directly teaching or fostering mental skills, and understanding these athletes. Looking across the interviews it was also clear that the same coaching strategies were not appropriate for each athletedifferent athletes required different things from their coaches at different points in their careers. This certainly emphasizes the importance of coaches reading athletes psychological needs and utilizing different approaches at different times and in different situations. Some evidence (Hanson & Gould, 1988) indicates, however, that many

Olympic Talent Development coaches are not skilled at reading their athletes psychological needs. A need exists to better understand this process.

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Establishing a strong coach-athlete relationship was critical for these champions. This finding was reported as being especially important in the middle and elite years of the athlete's career. Moreover, participants indicated that key factors in this relationship involved coach credibility (elite status, knowledge), reciprocal trust and respect, understanding athlete needs and responding accordingly, and caring about the athlete as a person, not just a performer. In terms of Blooms (1985) career phases, a win focus on the part of coaches did not emerge for most athletes until the middle years. Fun and development were stressed in the early years. High expectations and standards and hard work and discipline seemed to be especially important coaching practices in the last two phases. Lastly, it was interesting to note that many of the participants mentioned that early coaches did not damage the athlete psychologically, verifying the conclusion that youth coaching can have an important effect on the psychological development of elite competitors. The importance of coaching psychology emerges from these findings. Coaches were reported to create motivational climates that pushed these champions in good ways. As previously mentioned, they emphasized hard work and had high expectations and standards. It was also reported that the coaches played an important role in helping the athletes keep success in perspective. Finally, the coaches were very involved in teaching these athletes mental skills such as imagery, goal setting, and mental preparation. This, then, certainly emphasizes the importance of coaches of elite competitors being well versed in psychological skills training.

Dealing With Adversity and Costs of Talent Development


While not the major focus of this study, costs of talent development were noted, such as giving up aspects of a social life outside of sport or having difficulty separating ones sport and self-identity. This is consistent with Howes (1999) conclusion that any intense effort to develop talent will have costs as well as benefits. In future studies it would be interesting to explore the process of how athletes balance such costs and benefits over time. It must also be emphasized that while the majority of factors identified were positive, the participants at times struggled and faced adversity. Adversity factors experienced by the athletes included such things as injury, training frustrations, performance disappointments, and two athletes in this study even experienced clinical issues. Hence, Olympic champions, while having some outstanding psychological characteristics and talents are not supermen or superwomen immune to common or even severe psychological roadblocks or issues. During the course of their career, all athletes will face minor difficulties and some will experience major psychological difficulties during their development. Appropriate resources must be focused on helping them deal with such difficulties.

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Study Strengths and Limitations


This investigation had a number of strengths. First, a very elite group of athletes were studied. Seldom before have so many high level elite athletes been interviewed and surveyed. This was supplemented with interviews with significant others and coaches who knew them very well. Thus, triangulating findings across methods (surveys and interviews) and sources (athletes, coaches, significant others) was a strength. Interviewing the three sources also allowed us to gain three unique views of psychological characteristics and talent in Olympic champions. A third strength was the three-person consensual validation procedure employed. In addition, previous studies on psychological characteristics of athletes have used only one or two inventories. This study employed both an extensive battery of tests as well as qualitative interviews. Finally, a broad scope was taken to the study. Like all investigations, this study had several limitations. First, only 10 athletes were surveyed and interviewed. While they were certainly unique in their performance accomplishments, their total number is small and no comparison group of less successful but elite athletes of comparable experience (and their significant others and coaches) were surveyed and interviewed. Similarly, elite athlete norms for most of the inventories were not available for comparison purposes. Third, only two minority athletes were included in the sample and only one participant would be considered poor growing up. Finally, because the data was collected in a retrospective fashion, results are subject to memory bias effects. These sample limits must be kept in mind when interpreting these findings. It should also be noted in interpreting the findings that most of the coaches were not directly involved with the athletes during the early phase of their careers. Results, therefore, could be biased by a lack of knowledge in this area.

Recommendations for Talent Development


This study, while exploratory, when combined with the other research in the area, has a number of implications for guiding practice. Clearly, for example, the psychological development of outstanding athletes takes place over a long-time period and is influenced by a variety of individuals and factors. This long-term process involves both the talented person and a strong support system. Short-term approaches to talent development will not suffice and systematic educational efforts for both coaches and parents are needed. In addition, to the above general recommendation for guiding practice, the present study has two particularly important implication areas: (1) psychological characteristic results implications and (2) talent development parenting practice implications.

Psychological Characteristics Implications


The psychological characteristic and motivation results of this study provided a good profile of the mental ingredients characterizing champion athletes. Before planning a mental skills training program, for example, coaches may think about their athletes relative to each of these components. The degree athletes possess each characteristic can be rated. Then, particular characteristics to be improved can be identified and psychological skills training programs developed.

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Similarly, a number of National Sport Governing Bodies, such as USA Swimming, US Figure Skating, and USA Tennis, have developed listings of psychological competencies that should be developed in athletes at certain points in their careers. The present results should be addressed in such psychological competency listings. Moreover, the psychological talent development strategies identified in this study provide important information on both factors affecting and strategies for developing these psychological characteristics. The profile of champions might also be used as a recruiting tool. In identifying talent coaches could rate athletes on each of these attributes and look for individuals who either currently demonstrate or have the potential to demonstrate many of them. However, it must be remembered that no one exact formula of mental skills is absolutely essential for athletic success. For example, one Olympic champion we interviewed in the present study did not use imagery at all in her career while another gold medal winner relied heavily on imagery in his mental training. However, both employed the vast majority of mental skills identified in this study. Hence, coaches could use the champions profile for identifying athletes characteristics and attributes for the purpose of understanding the athlete better. However, coaches should not worry if any one attribute or skill is not fully developed. It is also important to recognize that psychological attributes are only part of what is needed for athletic success. As the results of this study show, physical talent and endowments are critical considerations.

Talent Development Parenting Implications


These results have important implications for parenting athletes. First, although the popular media highlights some prominent examples of parents entering their child into sports for the purpose of developing them into an elite athlete (e.g., Tiger Woods, Venus Williams), this and other studies of youth sport participation and elite performers have demonstrated that that strategy is probably not the best approach to take. Rather, our results support the work of Bloom (1985) and Ct (1999) and show that most champion athletes did not start their sport careers with Olympic aspirations in mind. Instead, they were exposed to active lifestyles, numerous sports, and encouraged to participate for fun and developmental reasons. They found the right sport for their body type and mental make-up and only later after they fell in love with the activity did they develop elite sport aspirations. Moreover, once they developed Olympic dreams, parents and coaches provided the athletes with the support they needed to turn their dreams into reality. What is needed, then, are programs to expose large numbers of children to Olympic sports. These programs should emphasize fun and fundamentals, and once young athletes exhibit talent, parents should be educated as to the most productive ways to foster that talent. Parents and coaches should also understand the best ways to facilitate psychological development at each stage of the athletes career. Given these results we recommend that the USOC consider developing practical guides for coaches and parents aimed at developing athletic talent. Guides should focus around Blooms (1985) stages of talent development and emphasize many of the guidelines uncovered in this study relative to fostering psychological talent. Especially important is the need to understand the support and encouragement necessary at the entry levels of sport. The importance of not pressuring athletes to win early in their careers but to teach values such as hard work, optimism and a can do attitude seem paramount. Moreover, practical advice like that coming from the participants in this study should be emphasized.

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Finally, this information should be conveyed in a number of forms. A written guide could be developed and disseminated (e.g., The USOC Guide to Athletic Talent Development). A video developed and shown in all USOC Training Facility visitor centers. USA Today and Sports Illustrated columns on developing athletic talent could be initiated, and during the Olympic Games television coverage U.S. Olympic champions could tape public service spots focusing on important talent development and sport parenting messages.

Participant Recommendations
In the final portion of the interview the participants were asked to identify recommendations for those working with talented athletes. These lessons learned are summarized in the table below:
Parenting Champions: Advice from Athletes, Parents, and Coaches Achievement Strategies Emphasize a can do / Dont quit attitude. Allow kids to learn on their ownstand on own feet. Challenge your child to reach as far as he or she can. Encourage your child to problem solve in a healthy and constructive manner (e.g., explore all the options, seek advice and help when necessary). Expose your child to elite achievers in a variety of settings. Let them see that "ordinary" people just like them can achieve extraordinary things. Help athletes understand and value the connection between hard work and achievement. Strive to provide your child with the optimal push - a mix of unconditional support and parental motivation. Recognize that the optimal amount of push will change as your child ages, and it will vary from child to child. Help your child cope with failure and frustration. Help him or her see set backs as a normal and helpful part of striving for and achieving success.

Encouragement Be enthusiastic and encouraging. Give encouragement. Be supportive/ your childs biggest fan. Don't criticize your child. Self-Motivation The child-athlete needs to be self-motivated and self-driven. As a parent you can help your child-athlete maintain his or her motivation, but you can't create it for him or her. Understand that the key to developing talent in any area is to first foster and build an internal love of the activity and a solid base of healthy psychological skills (e.g., healthy coping mechanisms, determination, focus). Long term commitment to an activity or a goal needs to come from within your child. Be dedicated to your child-athlete's goals - but make sure the goals are his or hers.

Olympic Talent Development


Discipline

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Help kids make and follow-through on short-term commitments, especially during the early years. Provide your child with both discipline and guidance. Development Allow the child to be a kid, especially during early years of involvement in activities. Listen to your athlete and strive to understand his or her developmental needs. Maintain a focus on development and enjoyment, especially during the early years. Sport involvement will help your child's confidence, provide him or her with a source of selfpride, and can help an adolescent through the perils of puberty. Encourage your child to remain involved in sport and physical activity, even if they decide to leave the competitive component.

Coaching Emphasize the importance of coach respect and good sportspersonship. Find a good coach, then let them do their job. Don't be a stage parent. During the early years, focus on finding coaches that will interact with your child, who will keep the activity fun, and who will not harm your child or his or her enthusiasm Maintain a good relationship with your child's coach based on mutual trust and respect. Monitor your child's early coaches to ensure that they do not push too hard. Unconditional Love and Support Let your child know you value who he or she is not just what he or she does or what he or she can accomplish. Make sure you child knows that your love and support is unconditional. Role Model Lead by example. Be a role model - model the behaviors you would like to see your child exemplify (e.g., determination, an active lifestyle). Perspective Maintain a sense of sibling/ family member equality in the home. Help your child keep his or her sport identity and winning in perspective with the rest of his or her life. Stress the importance of education and maintaining a well-rounded sense of being. Avoid an outcome-oriented philosophy (e.g., focusing only on winning). It will decrease motivation and enjoyment over time and may lead to the termination of the sport experience. Instead, focus on process and performance achievements. If your child experiences success early, strive to help him or her remain 'normal'. (e.g., winning Olympic gold does not exempt one from doing his or her chores) Focus on performance expectations/ keep your expectations realistic and low key.

Olympic Talent Development


General Provide your child-athlete with a safe and enjoyable environment. Don't try to live through your child. Encourage open and honest communication. Don't criticize the athlete's coach or teammates in front of the athlete.

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Final Thoughts
The results of this study have shown that these Olympic champions were characterized by a number of important psychological characteristics. Hence, we have a very good idea of the psychological characteristics of champions. It must be remembered, however, that these are group results. No one Olympian was characterized by all the factors identified. In addition, each was unique in how the factors were combined to comprise his or her distinctive psychological make-up. Findings also clearly revealed that psychological talent development is best thought of as a complex system made up of a variety of factors of influence. It is a long-term process that requires proper nurturing if success is to be achieved. Any number of individuals and agencies influence this process and do so in a variety of direct and indirect ways. It is our hope that as we begin to study the process of psychological talent development in outstanding athletes, we will be better equipped to help all athletes better develop mentally so that they can achieve their personal performance and well-being objectives. For as Howe (1999, p. 182) has indicated: We cannot map peoples lives in advance, but much can be done to make desirable outcomes more likely. Acquiring high abilities is one such outcome. We can and should act to make it happen more often.

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References
Bloom, B.S. (Ed.). (1985). Developing talent in young people. NY: Ballantine. Csikszentmihalyi, M., Rathunde, K., & Whalen, S. (1993). Talented teenagers: The roots of success and failure. NY: Cambridge University Press. Ct, J. (1999). The influence of the family in the development of talent in sport. The Sport Psychologist, 13, 395-417. Hanson, T., & Gould, D. (1988). Factors affecting the ability of coaches to predict their athletes trait and state anxiety levels. The Sport Psychologist, 2, 298-313. Howe, M. J. A. (1999). The psychology of high abilities. Washington Square, NY: New York University Press. Williams, J. M., & Krane, V. (2001). Psychological characteristics of peak performance. In J.M. Williams (Ed.), Applied sport psychology: Personal growth to peak performance (4th ed., pp. 137-147). Mountain View, CA: Mayfield.

Olympic Talent Development Scientific Abstract

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Although considerable research has been conducted on the psychological characteristics of more versus less successful elite athletes (see Hardy, Jones, & Gould, 1996; and Williams & Krane, 2001, for detailed reviews), less is known about how these skills are cultivated and developed. Several large-scale studies (Bloom, 1985; Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde, Whalen, & Wong, 1993) on talent development across a variety of domains (e.g., music, art, science, sport) have been conducted, however. Findings showed that to turn talent into actual achievements, individuals must develop specific psychological skills, orientations, and habits and have the opportunity to develop their mental and physical skills in supportive environments comprised of significant others who provide various types of support. More recently, Ct (1999) studied the influence of athletes families on the development of talent in sport, finding that they played an extremely important role. Expanding on this initial research, this study was designed to examine the process of psychological talent development in Olympic medal winning athletes. In the present study, 10 current or former U.S. Olympic champions with outstanding performance records over time (winners of 28 Olympic gold, three silver, and one bronze medals) were interviewed, as were one of their coaches (n = 10), and a parent, guardian, or significant other (n =10). Questions focused on the psychological and emotional attributes of the athlete, the process by which these attributes developed, and the culture supporting his or her psychological talent development. A battery of psychological inventories (trait anxiety, hardiness, perfectionism, optimism, trait hope, sport motivation, task and ego goal orientation, psychological skills and strategies, and coping) was also administered to each athlete to identify his or her psychological strengths. Descriptive statistics were used to examine the psychological inventory quantitative data related to the psychological characteristics of the athletes. Psychological strengths and limitations were determined by examining the magnitude of the participants responses. In cases where elite athlete norms existed, participant scores were compared to existing norms for elite athletes. Results revealed that these athletes exhibited low levels of Sport Anxiety Scale (Smith, Smoll, & Schultz, 1990) somatic (M =16.7 out of 36) and worry (M = 11.2 out of 36) trait anxiety. They also exhibited high agency hope--the ability to begin and continue along a selected goal pathway (M = 29.1 out of 32) on the Adult Trait Hope Scale (Snyder, Cheavens, & Michael, 1999). Relative to multidimensional perfectionism (Frost, & Henderson, 1991), the athletes scored high in an absolute level on adaptive perfectionism subscales (M personal standards = 28 out of 35, M organization = 24 out of 30) and low on maladaptive subscales (M parental expectations = 12 out of 25, M parental criticism = 6.0 out of 20, M doubts about actions = 8 out of 20). Sport Motivation Scale (Pelletier, Fortier, Vallerand, Tuson, Briere, & Blais, 1995) results showed that the athletes exhibited very high levels of intrinsic motivation -- to know (M = 18.7 out of 28), to accomplish (M = 23.3 out of 28), and to experience simulation (M = 21.5 out of 28). On the Athletic Coping Skills Inventory 28 (Smith, Schultz, Smoll, & Ptacek, 1995), the Olympians scored one standard deviation higher on goal setting and mental preparation (M = 9.2 out of 16) compared to professional baseball players (M = 6.56). Taken together, these findings verify current sport psychological research on psychological characteristics associated with peak performance (Hardy, Jones, & Gould, 1996; Williams & Krane, 2001). They also suggest that adaptive

Olympic Talent Development perfectionism, hope, and optimism are especially important new variables associated with elite athletic success.

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Qualitative data was analyzed using hierarchical content analysis (Gould, Eklund, & Jackson, 1993; Gould, Jackson, & Finch, 1993a; 1993b; Gould, Greenleaf, Dieffenbach, Lauer, Chung, Peterson, & McCann, 1999), triangulating across data sources (athletes, coaches, and parents). Characteristics of champions identified by the participants in the openended interviews triangulated most of the quantitative findings. Specifically, these champions were characterized by the ability to focus, high optimism, mental toughness, drive, competitiveness, confidence, sport intelligence, coachability, and the ability to handle stress. Major motives for involvement included achievement/ competence, fun and enjoyment, love of the sport, achieving the Olympic dream, and affiliation. Motives were found to vary to some degree across Blooms (1985) phases of talent development. Relative to the series of questions asking what factors influenced the psychological development of these champion athletes; results showed that many individuals and institutions were perceived to influence the development of these outstanding performers. Specifically, sources of influence included the community, family, non-sport personnel, the individual him or herself, sport environment/ personnel and the sport process. Moreover, modes of influence were both direct, such as teaching or emphasizing certain psychological lessons, and indirect involving modeling or unknowingly creating certain psychological environments. These results, then, supported the work of Bloom (1985) and Csikszentmihalyi and colleagues (1993) in showing that the psychological development of outstanding athletes takes place over a long time period and is influenced by a variety of individuals and factors. This long-term process involves both the talented person and a strong support system. Not surprisingly, parents and families were perceived to play a critical role in psychological talent development. They were found to provide financial, logistical, and social-emotional support. Specifically, parents were very committed to their child and did such things as modeled an active life style, exposed their child to different sports, transported their child, attended games and practices, and provided considerable encouragement and unconditional support. While families clearly supported and encouraged participation, in most cases they exerted little pressure to win. Families also emphasized an optimistic belief in the childs ability to succeed or a can do attitude. Families also modeled hard work and discipline, a finding consistent with research by Monsaas (1985), Sloboda & Howe (1991), Sloan (1985), and Sosniak (1985), who showed that parents of highly successful individuals espoused or modeled values related to achievement such as hard work, success, and being active and persistence. At the same time, parents emphasized the notion, if you are going to do it, do it right. They also held high (but reasonable) expectations and standards for their child, and a stick to it and follow-through on commitments attitude. These results are consistent with Blooms (1985) conclusion that the successful development of a talented individual requires the facilitation of disciplined involvement while avoiding excessive expectations. This is also consistent with Csikzentmihalyi et al.s (1993) complex family notion. That is, these families are both integrated and differentiated. Integrated in that they were stable in their sense of support and consistency. Differentiated in that they encouraged their children to individually seek out new challenges and opportunities.

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Finally, in the early phase of the athletes career, the majority of these parents did not have winning or the Olympic Games as an objective of participation. Instead, they focused on their childs happiness, a balance of fun and development, and the general developmental benefits of participation. While there was some emphasis on winning and success, these were not the predominant objectives of participation. At the same time, parents emphasized working hard, having a positive attitude, and discipline. Throughout the middle and elite phases of the athletes career, many parents also played an important role in helping the athlete keep winning and success in perspective. The roles of the parents also changed over time (from leader to follower role over three phases) supporting the research of Ct (1999). Like parents, coaches were also found to be a primary influence on athlete psychological development. They did this in a number of ways including emphasizing certain things such as hard work and discipline or having fun, having characteristics that facilitated athlete trust, providing encouragement and support, directly teaching or fostering mental skills, and by understanding these athletes. Looking across the interviews, it was also clear that the same coaching strategies were not appropriate for each athlete, different athletes required different things from their coaches at different points in their careers. This emphasized the importance of coaches reading athletes psychological needs and utilizing different approaches at different times and in different situations. Establishing a strong coach-athlete relationship was critical for these champions. This was reported as being especially important in the middle and elite years. Participants indicated that key factors in this relationship involved coach credibility (e.g., elite status, knowledge), reciprocal trust and respect, understanding athlete needs and responding accordingly, and caring about the athlete as a person and not just a performer. In terms of Blooms career phases, a win focus on the part of coaches did not emerge for most athletes until the middle years. Fun and development were stressed in the early years. High expectations and standards, hard work, and discipline seemed to be especially important coaching practices in the last two phases. Lastly, it was interesting to note that many of the participants mentioned that early coaches did not damage the young athlete psychologically, verifying the conclusion that youth coaching can have an important effect on the psychological development of elite competitors. The importance of coaching psychology emerges from these findings. Coaches were reported to create motivational climates that pushed these champions in good ways. It was also reported that the coaches played an important role in helping the athletes keep success in perspective. Finally, the coaches were very involved in teaching these athletes mental skills such as imagery, goal setting, and mental preparation. This, then, certainly emphasizes the importance of elite level coaches being well versed in psychological skills training. In summary, a better understanding of psychological talent development and the factors that influence psychological talent development was gained in this study. The findings and their implications are discussed relative to previous athlete talent development studies (Bloom, 1985; Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde, Whalen, & Wong, 1993; Ct, 1999; DurandBush & Salmela, 2001) and psychology of peak performance research (Hardy, Jones, & Gould, 1996) is emphasized. Practical implications and future directions are also emphasized.

Olympic Talent Development Rationale and Literature Review

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Historically, teams and individual athletes from the United States have been among the most successful in Olympic history. Indeed, the US Olympic Committee has been committed to helping athletes achieve performance excellence at the Olympic Games and, today, this is considered its primary goal. Maintaining this level of performance success will not be an easy task, however. More and more athletes from more and more countries are preparing for Olympic success. In addition, other countries are developing improved training facilities and foreign governments are placing higher priority on elite performance. Indeed, today Olympic contests are more competitive than any other time in history. Maintaining its record of Olympic performance success will be no easy task for the USOC. In fact, several special programs have been initiated to facilitate athlete development. For example, through partnerships created with selected cities, several Olympic Development Centers have been started. Additionally, a survey study of athlete talent development has been initiated. Hence, it is recognized that if the United States is to continue to be successful in Olympic competition, individuals with athletic talent will need to be identified, nurtured in the proper environment, and supported in numerous ways throughout all phases of their athletic careers. In order for the USOC to sustain its competitive excellence in Olympic competition, much more must be known about talent development in athletes. Interestingly, several largescale studies (Bloom, 1985; Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde, Whalen, & Wong, 1993) on talent development across a variety of domains (music, art, science, and sport) show that helping individuals develop their abilities is not just a process of identifying talented people or providing them with financial support. To turn talent into actual achievements, talented individuals must develop specific psychological skills, orientations, and habits and have the opportunity to develop their mental and physical skills in supportive environments comprised of significant others who provide various types of support. Bloom (1985) was one of the first to study talent development in world-class performers. Specifically, 120 individuals (renowned artist, academicians, musicians, mathematicians, swimmers, and tennis players) at the top of their fields were studied. A good deal of consistency was found across domains in terms of the investments of tangible and intangible resources found to be essential in nurturing promising individuals with talent. In addition to financial support and transportation to numerous competitions and performances, parents found ways to provide social emotional support facilitating disciplined involvement while avoiding excessive expectations and pressure. The parents also served as models for disciplined independence and fostered disciplined independence in their talented children. Blooms results, then, clearly show that talent development is a long-term process that involves more than the talented person, but also a strong support system. Interestingly, Bloom (1985) also found that these talented individuals careers fell into three distinct stages: the early years, or based on the work of Whitehead (1929) what has been labeled the romance phase; the middle years, labeled the precision phase; and, the elite years or the integration phase. In the early years (Romance Phase) the child developed a love for the activity, had a great deal of fun, received encouragement from significant others, was free to explore the activity, and achieved a good deal of success. Parents also instilled the value of

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hard work and doing things well. In the Precision Phase or the middle years, a master coach or teacher promoted long-term systematic skill learning in the talented individual. The focus was on technical mastery, technique and excellence in skill development. Finally, in the elite years or the Integration Phase, an individual continued to work with a master teacher (coach) and practiced many hours a day to turn training and technical skills into personalized performance excellence. There was a realization that the activity was significant in ones life. These phases occurred over a 15 to 20 year time period where each person moved through each phase in a developmental sequence, without skipping phases. More recently, Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde, Whalen, and Wong (1993) chronicled the development of 208 outstanding high school students who were identified by their teachers as having strong talent in art, athletics, mathematics, music, or science. These students were tracked from their first to final years of high school for the purpose of determining how they differed from their peers whose talents were more ordinary. These investigators also wanted to determine why some of the students developed their talent while others failed to do so. Based on their findings, Csikszentmihalyi and his colleagues (1993) concluded that talent must be viewed as a developmental process rather than an all-or-nothing phenomenon and cannot be developed unless it is valued by society and recognized and nurtured by parents, teachers, and coaches. Specifically, these investigators suggested that for talent to develop, information or knowledge relative to demands of the domain must be provided. Motivation is also needed and is greatly influenced by the support and encouragement of those in the field and family members. Finally, discipline is needed that allows the talented teen to study his or her domain long enough to acquire the skills needed for superior performance. Most relevant to the present study were Csikszentmihalyi and colleagues (1993) finding that talent development involves the acquisition of a mature personality during the teenage years a personality that allows the individual to cope with all the opportunities and obstacles that they will face in their chosen endeavor. To nurture his or her gift, the talented teen must have discipline as well as talent. Talented individuals were also found to spend more time practicing the activity, less time working outside of school, less time socializing with friends, more time on hobbies, and less time doing chores than their less talented counterparts. The investigators also concluded that (1) teenagers cannot develop talent unless they are intrinsically motivated and enjoy the activities of their domain while working hard to achieve their goals, (2) conflicts inherent in the development of talent (e.g., making difficult choices and coming to terms with the implications of their individuality) cannot be avoided, and (3) no child succeeds unless he or she is supported by caring adults. Talented teens were also very attuned to the quality of teaching in their talent area, giving very specific details about positive and negative behaviors of their most and least favorite teachers and coaches. Lastly, talent development came easier to youngsters who learned habits conducive to talent development. Finally, in one of the first sport psychological studies on the topic, Ct (1999) studying four elite athletes and their families (mothers, fathers, and siblings), found that families play an important role in elite athlete development as they progress through what were identified as sampling, specializing, and investment years. Results of in-depth interviews revealed that during the sampling years (ages 6 13) the child participated in multiple sports for fun as parents encouraged such involvement, fueled by a belief that sport contributed to the childs overall development. They also allowed and encouraged the child to sample a wide

Olympic Talent Development

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variety of sports. During the specializing years (ages 13-15), parents became committed supporters as their child focused on a limited number of sports. Little pressure was placed on the child to participate in any one sport and parents took on more of a follower/ supporter versus a leadership role, making financial and time sacrifices to optimize their childs participation. Lastly, during the investment years (ages 15 and over) the child focused on deliberate practice in an effort to pursue performance excellence. In this phase, parents also provided an important source of social support, especially when their child faced adversity or had to deal with setbacks. Little pressure was placed on the child in these years. One thing is clear from this initial research; talent alone is not enough to insure competitive athletic excellence. Psychological skills and habits are needed and must be cultivated in the right kind of social-emotional climate created by caring parents and coaches. It would seem, then, that the development of talent in Olympic athletes would require these same attributes. Given the above contentions, it is surprising that sport psychology researchers have not conducted any studies of athletic talent development and its relationship to emotional intelligence, psychological skills, and habits. Moreover, although considerable research has been conducted on the psychological characteristics of more versus less successful elite athletes (See Hardy, Jones, & Gould, 1996 and Williams & Krane, 2001, for detailed reviews) little is know about how these skills are cultivated and developed. This study was designed to examine the process of psychological talent development in Olympic champions. To do this required that the psychological talents of these outstanding athletes be identified. The first purpose of this study, then, was to identify the psychological characteristics and strengths of these individuals. Specifically, their psychological characteristics, mental skills and strategies used, and motives for involvement were identified. The second purpose focused on identifying those individuals who influenced these athletes psychological development as well as the specific ways in which these psychological talents were developed across time. Particular emphasis was placed on parenting and coaching practices, especially as they pertained to Blooms (1985) three phases of elite athlete development. Given the exploratory nature of the topic the primary method used was qualitative interviews. Additionally, participants were asked to complete psychological assessments of mental skills and attributes theorized to be important in the development of athletic talent, emotional intelligence, and performance excellence. Because it is thought that talent must be nurtured in a supportive emotional climate, interviews were also conducted with a coach and a parent, guardian, or significant other familiar with the athletes development and career. These additional interviews were used to triangulate themes identified by the athletes.

Olympic Talent Development Method Sample

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Participants interviewed included 10 Olympic champions representing nine different Olympic sports (e.g., skiing, wrestling, swimming, ice hockey, speed skating, track and field). These athletes had competed in one or more Olympic Games between the years of 1976 and 1998 with an average of 2.4 Olympic games each (range 1 to 4). They were chosen based on an analysis of Olympic Games performance records and participant availability. Between them these athletes had won 32 Olympic medals (28 gold, 3 silver, and 1 bronze), with an average of 3.2 Olympic medals per participant (range 1 to 5). Four of the athletes participated in winter Olympics while the remaining six athletes were summer game participants. Six male and four female athletes comprised the final sample. At the time of the interview, the average age of the participating athletes was 35.1 years with a range of 24 to 42 years old. Eight of the athletes participating in the study had retired from elite competition in their sport while the remaining two were still training and competing at the elite level. The primary method used for the overall project was in-depth qualitative interviews, ranging for 60 to150 minutes in length. Interviewing 10 athletes allowed the investigators to draw conclusions about the medallists as a group while at the same time allowing the interviews to be carried out in the depth needed to richly describe each athletes unique psychological development. Ten interviews were also considered to be the maximum number that could be conducted while maintaining the feasibility to conduct corroborating interviews with coaches and the parent/ guardian/ significant other (note: 30 interviews in all) and conduct content analysis across sources. Participating athletes were selected based on the first authors contacts with them or via USOC/ NGB staff contacts. Emphasis was placed on seeking out individuals who had not only won Olympic gold medals, but had also who have been very consistent outstanding performers in their chosen sports over a number of years (e.g., placing in the World Championships several years in a row). Once athletes agreed to participate in the study, a packet containing a study introduction letter, a written consent form, the paperwork necessary to receive the $200 participation stipend provided by the USOC, the battery of psychological assessments, and a stamped addressed return envelope for the consent form and survey was mailed. Additionally, each athlete was asked to identify and provide contact information for a coach and a parent, sibling, or significant other who would be familiar with his or her career and development. Athletes were also provided with stamped postcards to mail to the individuals that they recommended for interview participation. These postcards contained a brief study description, indicating that the athlete gave his or her permission for the individual to speak to the interviewer regarding his or her knowledge of the athlete and his or her history, and provided a place for the athletes signature. 10 coaches (one coach identified by each of the athletes) were interviewed. Specifically, each athlete recommended the coach who was most familiar with his or her career to be interviewed; one who he or she felt knows him or her the best. All coaches suggested by the athletes agreed to participate in the study. Of the 10 coaches, nine were

Olympic Talent Development

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males and one was female. Seven of these individuals coached the athlete in Blooms (1985) elite career phase, one in both the elite and middle phases, one in the middle phase, and one in the early phase. Coaches were interviewed for the purpose of determining each athletes mental skill and social-emotional development abilities as well as how he or she developed these competencies during and across each of Blooms (1985) career stages. Finally, 10 parents, siblings, or significant others were interviewed, one for each athlete. Eight of these individuals were parents (5 mothers and 3 fathers), one a sibling, and one a significant other. All parents/ sibling/ significant others recommended by the athletes agreed to participate in the study. The purpose of interviewing the parent, sibling, or significant other was to determine how psychological skills and abilities developed in the athlete and the environment that existed to foster the development of such competencies. Interviewing coaches and parents/ siblings/ significant others created a more detailed picture of the athletes nature, development, and career. Additionally, the supplementary interviews provided a means of triangulating the data across sources. (Note: For the sake of simplicity in this manuscript, the term 'significant other' will be used to refer to the interviews conducted with the athlete's parent, sibling, or significant other and the data received from these sources.) Interview Guides Interview guides were used to help standardize all interviews across participants and to minimize bias. The interview guides used in this study (see Appendix A, B, and C) were designed based on the talent development related literature and were evaluated by USOC sport psychology staff as well as UNCG sport psychology research laboratory colleagues. The athlete interview began with general questions about the athletes career (e.g., when the athlete began participating in the sport, competing, what support they received from parents and coaches). Next, the focus of the interview questions turned to the athletes mental skill strengths, which was stimulated by a discussion of the results of the various psychological inventories administered prior to the interview. Finally, questions focused on how the athlete developed these strengths relative to each of Blooms (1985) career phases, the early, middle, and elite years, as well as specific questions focusing on issues identified in the Csikszentmihalyi et al. (1993) talented teen research. Coach and significant other interviews were always completed after the corresponding athlete interview had been conducted. In general, the coach and parent interviews followed the same interview guide format by asking the same questions as those posed to the athletes and relevant to the appropriate career phase each individual had knowledge of (e.g., the elite coach was not asked about the athletes early development unless they knew the athlete prior to coaching him or her, parents were asked about the athletes entire career). Additionally, based on the results from the athlete interviews, specific questions about each particular athletes characteristics and development were posed (e.g., if an athlete mentioned a specific illness or injury and the impact it had on him or her, this was mentioned to the coach and significant other if they did not bring it up during their respective interviews).

Olympic Talent Development Interviewer and Interview Procedures

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The same interviewer performed all 30 interviews in this study. She was a 30-year-old female in the advanced stages of her doctoral degree work in sport psychology. Training for the interview portion of this study included reading qualitative interviewing technique books (e.g., Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Miles & Huberman, 1994; Patton, 1990) and conducting several pilot interviews. Pilot interviews conducted by the interviewer were tape recorded and critiqued by the principal investigators and colleagues. Athlete interviews were scheduled after individual consent forms and surveys had been received and scored. Coach and significant other interviews were scheduled and conducted only after the corresponding athlete interview was complete. The interviewer had the opportunity to review the participants survey results prior to conducting each athlete interview. Additionally, the interviewer reviewed the athlete interview prior to conducting the coach and significant other interviews. While the interviewer followed a structured interview guide, she was free to proceed in the direction dictated by the natural flow of the conversation for all interviews. However, all participants were asked all of the major questions on the interview guide by the end of the interview. Finally, in the general introduction to the interviews, participants were assured of complete confidentiality and anonymity of their remarks (e.g., efforts would be made to disguise sports and athlete genders whenever possible). It was emphasized that participants should feel free to voice both their positive and negative opinions. They were also informed that there were no right or wrong responses, and that if they felt uncomfortable answering any question at any time, they were free to simply state that they would rather not discuss that issue. This option, however, was not employed by any of the participants. Mental Skills and Attributes Assessments To help determine components of the athletes mental skills and attributes thought to be key to elite performance, a series of psychological tests was administered to each athlete prior to his or her interview. The instruments administered (see Appendix D) included the following: Trait Anxiety The Sport Anxiety Scale (SAS; Smith, Smoll, & Schultz, 1990) was used to measure trait anxiety, the personality disposition that assesses the degree that individuals perceive competition as more or less threatening and become nervous. The SAS is a 21-item questionnaire that measures three types of trait anxiety: somatic anxiety (the perceptions of physiological states), worry (concern about performance), and concentration disruptions (ability to focus). Participants were asked to respond to statements regarding how they usually react to competition using a 4-point Likert scale (e.g., I feel tense in the stomach, 1 = not at all to 4 = very much so). The SAS yields subscale scores for somatic anxiety, worry, and concentration disruptions as well as an overall trait anxiety score. The SAS has been subjected to rigorous psychometric testing and has been shown to demonstrate good psychometric properties (Smith, Smoll & Schultz, 1990).

Olympic Talent Development Hardiness

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Because hardiness is considered to be a key attribute within Golemans (1995) notion of emotional intelligence, this construct was included in the psychological assessment administered to the participants. Specifically, the Personal Views Survey III (PVS-III; The Hardiness Institute, 1994) was used to measure individuals hardiness level. This 30-item inventory requires participants to rate their agreement to statements on a 4-point Likert scale (e.g.,, Most of my time gets spent doing things that are worthwhile, 0 = not at all true to 3 = completely true). The PVS-III is divided into three subscales consisting of 10 items each. The challenge subscale encompasses ones view of life changes as challenging rather than threatening. The second subscale, control, is the view of internal personal control over individual outcomes, and the third subscale, commitment, is the view of commitment rather than alienation towards work and life. The three subscales are combined to provide an overall hardiness score for each individual. The PVS-III is scored via a computer program provided by The Hardiness Institute (1998) and scores are reported in percentages with the subscales ranging from 0 (low) -33% (high) and the overall hardiness score ranging from 0 (low personal hardiness) to 100% (high personal hardiness). The Hardiness Institute (1989) has demonstrated adequate reliability and validity for the PVS - III. Multidimensional Perfectionism Perfectionism is defined as the setting of excessively high standards of performance combined with a tendency to make overly critical self-evaluations. Frost, Marten, Lahart, & Rosenblate (1990) developed the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (MPS) that has been successfully employed to study athletes. This 35-item scale asks respondents to indicate on a 5-point Likert scale the degree to which they agree or disagree with statements related to perfectionistic tendencies (e.g., I should be upset if I make a mistake, 1 = strongly agree to 5 = strongly disagree). The MPS yields an overall perfectionism score as well as six subscale scores. The subscales on the MPS include (a) concern over mistakes, (b) personal standards, (c) parental expectations, (d) parental criticism, (e) doubts about actions, and (f) organization. The MPS has been shown to have good internal consistency and convergent validity. Interestingly, some of these subscales (e.g., personal standards) have been shown to be positively correlated to achievement striving while others (e.g., concern over mistakes) are negatively related. The overall perfectionism score is derived by adding all the subscales together resulting in scores ranging from 35 (low perfectionism) to 175 (high perfectionism). The concern over mistakes subscale had a possible maximum score of 45 and a minimum score of 9. The personal standards subscale ranged from a low of 7 to a high of 35. The parental expectations subscale had a possible minimum score of 5 and a maximum score of 25 while the parental criticism and doubts about actions subscales ranged from 4 to 20. Finally, the organization subscale range of scores was 6 to 30. Optimism The revised Life Orientation Test (LOT-R; Scheier, Carver, & Bridges, 1994) is a 10item scale that assesses individual levels of optimism. Optimism is defined as expectancies for the future. While pessimists are more doubtful, hesitant, and anticipate disaster, optimists assume adversity can be handled successfully. The LOT-R asks participants to rate each statement on a 5-point Likert scale (e.g., In uncertain times, I expect the best, 1 = strongly

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disagree to 5 = strongly agree). An optimism score ranging from a low of 6 to a high of 30 is determined by the LOT-R. Scheier, Carver, and Bridges (1994) have demonstrated both acceptable reliability and validity for the LOT-R. Hope Another scale used in psychological assessment of the study participants was the Adult Trait Hope Scale (Snyder, Cheavens, & Michael, 1999; Snyder, Harris, Anderson, Holleran, Irving, Sigmon, Yoshinobu, Gibb, Langelle, & Harney, 1991). This 12-item scale measures hope using two subscales: agency (the will; the perceived ability to begin as well as to continue along a selected pathway to a goal) and pathway (the way; the perceptions of being able to produce one or more workable routes to goals). The Adult Trait Hope Scale also yields a total score that is defined as an individuals reciprocally derived sense of successful agency and pathway. Respondents use an 8-point Likert scale to indicate how false or true each statement is for him or her (e.g., I energetically pursue my goals, 1 = definitely false to 8 = definitely true). Subscale scores for agency and pathway range from 4 to 32, while overall scores range from 8 to 64. The strength of the validity and reliability of the Adult Trait Hope Scale has been demonstrated by Snyder, Cheavens, and Michael (1999). Sport Motivation The 28-item Sport Motivation Scale (SMS) developed by Pelletier, Fortier, Vallerand, Tuson, Briere, and Blais (1995) was included to measure the sources of athlete motivation. Specifically, the SMS subscales measure various sources of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in sport as well as amotivation or lack of motivation. Respondents were asked to indicate the extent to which the items corresponded to his or her reasons for participating in sport using a 7-point Likert scale (e.g.,, Why do you practice your sport? For the pleasure it gives me to know more about the sport that I practice, 1 = does not correspond at all to 7 = corresponds exactly). The SMS consists of seven subscales. There are three intrinsic motivation subscales: (a) motivation to know (e.g., for the pleasure of discovering new training techniques), (b) accomplishment (e.g., for the pleasure I feel while executing certain difficult movements), and (c) to experience stimulation (e.g., the pleasure I feel in living exciting experiences). There are three extrinsic motivation subscales: (a) introjection (e.g., behaviors are reinforced through guilt or anxiety), (b) to be identified (e.g., for the prestige of being an athlete), and (c) external regulation (e.g., behavior is controlled by rewards). The seventh subscale of the SMS is amotivation (e.g., I dont know anymore, I have the impression Im not capable of succeeding in sport). Each subscale contains four items and has a score range of 4 to 28. The SMS has been shown to have strong psychometric properties (Pelletier, et al., 1995). Task and Ego Orientation Duda (1989) developed the Task Ego Orientation Scale Questionnaire (TEOSQ) to examine individuals task and ego orientation in sports. The TEOSQ uses a 5-point Likert scale rating (e.g., I feel most successful in sport when Im the best, 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree) and consists of 13 items. Two subscale scores, task involvement and ego involvement, are determined from the TEOSQ with scores ranging from 1 to 5 on each

Olympic Talent Development subscale. The TEOSQ has been found to have acceptable psychometric properties (Duda, 1989). Test of Performance Strategies

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The Test of Performance Strategies (TOPS) is a newly developed instrument that assesses mental skills that have been shown to influence performance and are used by athletes in competition and practice (Thomas, Murphy, & Hardy, 1999). The TOPS consist of 64 behavior-based statements that athletes assess using a 4-point Likert scale rating to indicate how frequently they engage in each behavior (e.g., I visualize my competition going exactly the way I want it to go, 1 = never to 5 = always). Four items make up each of the 16 subscales examining psychological skills athletes use during competition and practice. The eight psychological skills used during practice assessed by the TOPS include goal setting, relaxation, activation, imagery, self-talk, attentional control, emotional control, and automaticity. Eight psychological skills used during competition are also assessed by the TOPS. The measured competition skills include goal setting, relaxation, activation, imagery, self-talk, negative thinking, emotional control, and automaticity. Competition and practice skill subscale scores were obtained by averaging item scores to create a range of 1 (never use this skill) to 5 (always use this skill) for each subscale. Using 472 athletes competing in a range of performance levels and sports, Thomas et al. (1999) found good initial support for the proposed factor structure of the TOPS. Athletic Coping Skills Inventory 28 The Athletic Coping Skills Inventory 28 (ACIS-28; Smith, Schultz, Smoll, & Ptacek, 1995) is a 28-item scale measuring seven classes of sport-specific psychological coping skills including coping with adversity, peaking under pressure, goal setting and mental preparation, concentration; freedom from worry, confidence and achievement motivation, and coachability. Individuals were asked to respond to each statement by indicating how often they experience different situations using a 4 point scale (e.g., I put a lot of pressure on myself by worrying about how I will perform, 0 = almost never to 3 = almost always). Each subscale consists of four items that are averaged to provide a subscale range of 0 to 3. Additionally, the seven subscales are summed and averaged to provide a total personal coping resource score. Psychometric properties of the scale have been demonstrated via confirmatory factor analyses and preliminary evidence for construct and predictive validity have been found with high school athletes and professional baseball players (Smith, Schultz, Smoll, & Ptacek, 1995).

Olympic Talent Development Results Data Analysis

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All interviews were tape recorded, transcribed verbatim, and then content analyzed by three investigators following procedures recommended by Miles and Huberman (1994) and successfully employed in previous qualitative studies (Gould, Eklund, & Jackson, 1993; Gould, Jackson, & Finch, 1993a; 1993b; Gould, Greenleaf, Dieffenbach, Lauer, Chung, Peterson & McCann, 1999). Specifically, each investigator studied tapes of the interviews and read and reread verbatim transcripts. Raw themes (quotes or paraphrased quotes representing a meaningful point or thought) were individually identified and consensually validated in 300 hours of group meetings with the three investigators present. Raw themes were then organized into patterns of like responses in the data (e.g., confidence to try new things, believed in self, never doubted self) and a summary label for the category was determined (selfconfidence). Athlete, coach, and parent responses were summarized for each medal winner and an integrated profile of each case was comprised. Responses from all 30 participants were then combined. After summarizing all participant raw data themes and tags in to more general categories (labeled higher order categories and umbrella groups) results presented focus on describing the "meaning" of these citations for the participants. This is the essence of qualitative data analysis - describing participant's experiences and interpretations of the phenomena (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). For some questions we then provided a summary of the number of participants citing common higher order categories (e.g., 25 of 30 participants indicated the athlete was optimistic). This was helpful in showing that a large number of participants identified a common higher order category as important. However, it is important to note that all questions were open-ended, so not all participants may have thought of a particular point or theme even though they might have rated it as important if asked. The number of participants citing a particular theme, then, should not be used as the 'sole' criteria of how important it was. For other questions (e.g., Who influenced the athlete's psychological development), the number of individuals citing a particular theme was not particularly high or was not felt to add to the interpretation of the findings so the numbers of citations are not discussed. However, the number of individuals citing themes are presented in the figures and tables provided throughout the manuscript. Descriptive statistics were used to examine the quantitative data. Psychological strengths and limitations were determined by examining the magnitude of the participants own responses on the psychological instruments administered. In cases where elite athlete norms exist (e.g., TOPS), participant scores were compared to existing norms for elite athletes. Results were also compared with findings from other studies that assessed elite athletes.

Olympic Talent Development Quantitative Assessment Psychological Characteristics Sport (Trait) Anxiety Scale

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The Olympic champions in this study had a mean somatic trait anxiety subscale score of 16.7, (SD = 4.52) ranging from 11 to 23. The mean worry subscale score for these medal winners was 11.2 (SD = 3.43) with a range of 8 to 19. Concentration disruption scores for participants in this study ranged from 5 to 12 with a mean score of 7.0 (SD = 2.58). Finally, the overall SAS score ranged from 24 to 49 with a mean score of 34.9 (SD = 8.57). In a study by Smith and colleagues (1990) using the SAS, 123 college football players demonstrated a mean trait somatic anxiety scale of 18.98 (SD = 5.48), a mean trait worry score of 14.17 (SD = 4.47), a mean concentration disruption score of 7.71 (SD = 2.21), and an overall mean of 40.86 (SD = 9.99). In contrast, the Olympic athletes surveyed in this study demonstrated lower mean anxiety scores on all three anxiety subscales (16.7, 11.2, and 7 respectively) and for the overall score (34.9). Hardiness - Personal Views Survey III The PVS-III (The Hardiness Institute) was used to assess hardiness. This measure provided three subscales, challenge, control, and commitment, as well as a total hardiness score. Each subscale resulted in a percentage score which, when totaled together, created the overall hardiness score (max score = 100%). A high score on each of the subscales and a high overall hardiness score indicates high hardiness in that area. On the challenge subscale, participants had a mean score of 19.9% (SD = 2.88%) with a range of 16% to 24%. On the second subscale, control, the mean score for these Olympians was 23.5% (SD = 2.91%) with a range of 20% to 28%. The third subscale, commitment, revealed a mean score of 22.6% (SD = 2.99%) and a range score of 17% to 27% for these participants. Finally, the mean total score was 66% (SD = 4.99%) with a range 59% to 75% out of 100%. Currently, there are no available norms for the PVS-III. Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale The concern over mistakes subscale had a possible range of 9 to 45. For these Olympians the mean score for this subscale was 17.6 (SD = 7.01) with a range of 10 to 29. The second subscale, personal standards of achievement, has a possible range of 7 to 35. The participants in this study had a range of 17 to 35 and a mean score of 28 (SD = 5.25). Scores on parental expectations, the third subscale, had a potential range of 5 to 25. The scores for participants in this study ranged from 5 to 16 (M = 11.8, SD = 3.74). On the parental criticism subscale, scores could potentially range from 4 to 20. These athletes had a range of 4 to 13 and a mean score of 6.2 (SD = 2.66). The doubts about actions subscale had a potential range of 4 to 20. These gold medallists had a range of 4 to 15 for this subscale with a mean score of 8 (SD = 3.92). The last subscale, organization, had a range of 6 to 30. These Olympians had a range of 18 to 30 (M = 23.9, SD = 4.01). Finally, adding the subscales together yielded a total perfectionism score, with a potential score ranging from 35 (low perfectionism) to 175 (high perfectionism). These participants had a scoring range of 72 to 113 and a mean score of 95.5 (SD = 16.55). Currently there are no available norms of elite athletes on the MPS.

Olympic Talent Development Optimism - Life Orientation Test Revised

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Athletes in this sample had LOT-R (dispositional optimism) scores ranging from low of 19 to high of 28 (M = 24.7, SD = 2.54). This mean score of almost 25 was much higher than the mean score of 14.33 (SD = 4.28) of 2055 college students as reported by Scheier, Carver, & Bridges (1994). The Adult Trait Hope Scale In this sample the athletes agency scores yielded a mean score of 29.1 (SD = 2.13) with a range of 24 to 31. The mean pathway subscale score for this sample was 26.8 (SD = 2.35) with a range of 23 to 31. Combined, these subscales yielded an overall hope score mean of 55.9 (SD = 3.48) with a range of 51 to 61. Task and Ego Orientation Scale Questionnaire For the task orientation subscale, the participants had a scoring range of 3.86 to 4.86 with a mean of 4.36 (SD = 0.37). On the ego orientation subscale, the Olympians scores ranged from 1 to 3.83 with a mean of 2.87 (SD = 0.81). Duda (1989) studied 193 eleventh and twelve grade females and 128 males and found that the males had a task orientation of 4.28 and an ego-orientation of 2.89 while the females task orientation score was 4.45 and ego orientation score 2.59. Sport Motivation Scale Pelletier and colleagues (1995) developed the SMS to assesses three different kinds of extrinsic and three kinds of intrinsic motivation as well as amotivation. The scoring range for all the subscales is 4 to 28. The athletes in this study had a mean amotivation score of 5.7 (SD = 2.50) with a range of 4 to 9. The Olympians mean score on the external regulation subscale was 9.7 (SD = 5.77) with a range of 4 to 27. The extrinsic motivation introjected subscale mean score was 9.7 (SD = 6.11) with scores ranging from 5 to 23. On the third extrinsic motivation identified subscale, athletes had a mean score of 12.6 (SD = 4.47) with a range of 7 to 21. For the first intrinsic motivation subscale, to know, participants had a mean score of 18.7 (SD = 5.50) and a range of 9 to 27. The Olympians in this study demonstrated a mean score of 23.3 (SD = 4.00; range 16 to 28) on accomplishment, another intrinsic motivation subscale. Finally, the intrinsic motivation of experience stimulation revealed mean score of 21.5 (SD = 4.77) with a range of 13 to 28. Table 1 provides a comparison of participants in this study with other elite athlete samples.

Olympic Talent Development Table 1. Sport Motivation Scale subscale scores for this sample and comparison studies SMS Subscales Amotivation Extrinsic Motivation Extrinsic regulation Extrinsic Motivation Introjection Extrinsic Motivation Identified Intrinsic Motivation To know Intrinsic Motivation Accomplishment Intrinsic Motivation Experience simulation M 5.7 9.7 12.7 12.6 18.7 23.3 21.5 SD 2.50 10.82 12.46 13.13 13.05 14.88 14.57 M 6.89 10.82 12.46 13.13 13.05 14.88 14.57 SD 3.00 3.59 4.04 3.24 3.37 3.40 3.49 M 6.98 11.56 12.29 12.90 12.42 14.17 14.76 SD 3.10 3.72 3.70 3.15 3.47 3.30 2.99 M 6.15 12.52 20.84 18.14 18.85 21.98 22.51 SD 3.77 5.43 5.22 4.57 5.78 4.56 3.96

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Range 4 - 28 4 - 28 4 - 28 4 - 28 4 - 28 4 - 28 4 - 28

This Sample

Female University Athletes (Pelletier et al.,1995)

Male University Athletes (Pelletier et al.,1995)

Quebec Junior College Athletes (Pelletier et al.,1995)

Test of Performance Strategies The TOPS yields sixteen subscale scores, assessing eight psychological skill performance strategies in both practice and competition contexts (See Table 2). Means and standard deviations for all competition subscales are contained in Table 2 and show that the Olympians exhibited the highest scores for goal setting, activation, relaxation and emotional control. For the practice context, highest scores were obtained for goal-setting and attentional control. Comparisons of the Olympians practice and competition TOPS scores to those of 65 international athletes contained in the original scale development work of Thomas et al. (1999) are also contained in Table 2. An inspection of this table reveals that the Olympic athletes in this study scored substantially higher in the competition context on emotional control, automaticity, and relaxation and lower than the international athletes on negative thinking. Relative to practice strategies the Olympians scored higher on goal setting and attentional control and lower on imagery.

Olympic Talent Development Table 2. Test of Performance Strategies scores for this study and comparison studies COMPETITION STRATEGIES M Self-Talk Emotional Control Automaticity Goal-Setting Imagery Activation Relaxation Negative Thinking 3.63 4.08 3.65 4.23 3.80 4.18 4.10 1.63 SD 0.67 0.50 0.65 0.84 1.32 0.64 0.21 0.56 M 3.71 3.77 3.10 4.11 3.98 4.11 3.82 1.93 SD 0.87 0.59 0.76 0.66 0.74 0.56 0.62 0.65 Range 1-5 1-5 1-5 1-5 1-5 1-5 1-5 1-5

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PRACTICE STRATEGIES M Self-Talk Emotional Control Automaticity Goal-Setting Imagery Activation Relaxation Attentional Control 3.53 3.63 3.30 4.15 3.20 3.18 2.78 4.00 SD 0.63 0.60 0.81 0.52 1.12 0.44 1.01 0.46 M 3.58 3.47 3.35 3.59 3.52 3.15 2.92 3.63 SD 0.70 0.68 0.52 0.77 0.71 0.66 0.66 0.59 Range 1-5 1-5 1-5 1-5 1-5 1-5 1-5 1-5

This Sample

International Athletes (Thomas et al., 1999)

Athletic Coping Skills Inventory-28 Each of the six subscales of ACSI-28 has a potential range of 0 (low) to 12 (high). Additionally, the average score of the subscales yields an overall personal coping resource score. Table 3 contains the ACSI-28 means and standard deviations for the 10 Olympic champions sampled. The athletes average scores were highest on concentration, goals setting and mental preparation, peaking under pressure, and freedom from worry. Lowest scores came on the coping with adversity and confidence subscales, although these were both almost 9 on the 12-point scale.

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Table 3 also provides a comparison of the coping skills of professional minor league baseball players as reported by Smith and Christensen (1994) to the findings of this study. This comparison reveals that the Olympic champions were higher than the baseball players on coping with adversity, peaking under pressure, goal setting and mental preparation, concentration, and freedom from worry subscales. The baseball players were higher on confidence and coachability sub scores. Table 3. ACSI-28 subscale scores for this study and comparison studies ACSI -28 Coping Peaking Goal/ Prep Concentration Worry Confidence Coachability TOTAL M 8.8 9.3 9.7 10 9.2 8.8 9 9.27 SD 7.55 10.28 8.40 9.51 6.56 8.66 7.24 8.31 Pro Baseball (Smith & Christensen, 1994) M 7.55 8.66 6.56 8.40 7.24 9.51 10.28 SD 2.48 2.29 2.84 2.10 2.72 1.95 1.72 Range 0-12 0-12 0-12 0-12 0-12 0-12 0-12 0-12

This Sample

Qualitative Assessment Psychological Characteristics The athletes, coaches, and significant others were all asked the general question "What were the psychological characteristics of the Olympic athlete that helped him or her succeed." Four hundred forty-four raw themes resulted from the responses to these general questions. These raw themes were content analyzed through a consensual procedure with the three researchers discussing and coming to consensus on tags, higher order categories, and overall psychological characteristic umbrella groups. This procedure resulted in 41 higher order categories that were summarized into eight overall psychological characteristics umbrella groups: general personality characteristics and values, performance enhancement skills and characteristics, motivational issues and orientations, handling adversity and pressure, psychological characteristics to overcome, good morals/ sportspersonship, self-awareness, and having a sense of balance between sport and life (See Figure 1). Each of the umbrella groups, the higher order categories, and tags, comprising them are discussed below.

Olympic Talent Development Figure 1. Psychological characteristics organized into tags, higher order categories, and umbrella groups and the number of individuals citing each (n = 30)
Umbrella Groups Higher Order Categories Optimistic/ positive (25) Healthy psychological characteristics (19) Emotionally guarded/ quiet (12) Good with people/ Nice person (11) Organized/ detail oriented (9) Intelligent (8) General confidence (5) Head strong & self-centered (4) Emotional (1) Realistic (1) Speak mind (1) Temperamental (1) Manipulative (1) Knew value of money (1) Need for/ sought parental support (1) Focus (22) Tags

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General Personality Characteristics (30) & Values

Optimistic/ positive (25) healthy psychological characteristics (19) Emotionally guarded/ quiet (12) Nice person/ likeable/ personable (10) Good with people/ good social skills (3) Organized/ detail oriented (9) Intelligent (8) General confidence (5) Head strong & self-centered (4) Emotional (1) Realistic (1) Speak mind (1) Temperamental (1) Manipulative (1) Knew value of money (1) Need for/ sought parental support (1)

Performance Enhancement Skills & (30) Characteristics

Ability to focus/ not easily distracted (20) Ability to focus on what you can control (6) Ability to automatize (1) Mental toughness (22) Mental toughness (22) Competition attitude/ competitive (19) Competition attitude/ competitive (19) Sport confidence (18) Sport confidence (18) Sport intelligence (16) Sport intelligence (16) Coachable (15) Coachable (15) Productive training attitude & approach (10) Productive training attitude and approach (10) Ability to set goals(8) Ability to set goals (8) Good imagery ability (8) Good imagery ability (8) Ability to plan and prepare (3) Ability to plan and prepare (3) Methodical/ routine oriented (3) Methodical/ routine oriented (3) Willing to try new things (2) Willing to try new things (2) Good teammate (2) Good teammate (2) Ability to maximize resources (1) Ability to maximize resources (1) Pain tolerance (1) Pain tolerance (1) Positive self-talk (1) Positive self-talk (1) Driven to please others (4) Driven to meet high personal expectations/ perfectionist (16) Motivation/ dedication/ determination (26) Goal dedication (4) Ways to cope with setbacks (14) Ability to deal with anxiety (11) Self-aware (8)
Psychological characteristics to overcome (5)

Motivational Issues & Orientations (29) Overall Handling Adversity & Pressure (19) Self-Aware Psychological Characteristics to overcome (8) (5)

Drive (28) Goal dedication (4) Ways to cope with setbacks (14) Ability to deal with anxiety (11) Self-aware (8)
Psychological characteristics to overcome (5)

Good morals/ Sportspersonship (5) Balance between sport & life (1)

Good morals/ sportspersonship (3) Good person (2) Balance between sport & life (1)

Good morals/ sportspersonship (3) Good person (2) Balance between sport & life (1)

Olympic Talent Development General Personality Characteristics and Values

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The first umbrella group was general personality characteristics and values and contained responses from all 30 interview participants. The fifteen higher order categories within this overall umbrella group are depicted in Figure 1 and included the categories emotional, emotionally guarded/ quiet, intelligent, optimistic/ positive, organized/ detail oriented, head strong and self-centered, healthy psychological characteristics, realistic, speak mind, temperamental, knew value of money, need for/ sought parental support, good with people/ nice person, and manipulative. The higher order theme categories of optimistic/ positive and healthy psychological characteristics were the largest. These categories had responses from more than half the participants with 83.3% and 63.3%, respectively. Interestingly, all 10 athletes interviewed as well as eight significant others and seven coaches felt that the athlete in question was optimistic/ positive. Hence, it emerged as a tag category and higher order theme. However, it should be noted that all participants were directly asked about athletes optimism based on the quantitative results. Another large higher order category that fell within the general personality characteristics and values umbrella was healthy psychological characteristics, cited by four athletes, seven significant others, and eight coaches. This higher order category was comprised of a tag of the same name. Raw themes that comprised this category and tag were seen as stable healthy psychological characteristics, including having no entitlement attitude, patience, pride, a sense of responsibility, a sense of humor, being serious, being well rounded, being humble, independent, courageous, emotionally even, and calm. The emotionally guarded/ quiet higher order category was comprised of tags such as quiet, shy, and introvert. Only one athlete made a comment that fell into this category, while five significant others and six coaches made statements indicating that they felt the athlete was emotionally guarded/ quiet. One coach created the image of his athlete as emotionally guarded/ quiet by explaining how his athlete was during practice, particularly difficult ones, he just went about his business. You never saw him complain. He just listenedhe just plugged through it in a quiet way. Another higher order category within the general personality characteristics and values umbrella was good with people/ nice person. While no athletes interviewed made statements that were classified into this category, six significant others and five coaches did evaluate the athlete in such a positive light. This higher order theme was further subdivided into two tags, good with people/ good social skills and nice person/ likeable/ personable. One parent indicated that her son was good with people/ had good social skills and was able to lead others. She stated that her son was able to infect his teammates with his drive and intensity (and) he gained a great deal of respect from his players as team captain. In describing their athletes, five coaches used words like personable, nice, well mannered, warm, and likeable. Three athletes made statements indicating that he or she felt they were organized/ detail-oriented individuals. This trait was also listed by three significant others and three coaches. Intelligence was a higher order category cited by two athletes, four significant others, and two coaches.

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The head strong/ self-centered tag and corresponding higher-order category (cited by one athlete, two significant others, and one coach) was comprised of raw themes such as having a lack of respect for authority and being stubborn. The higher order category, a sense of general overall confidence, was created from a tag of the same name and espoused having confidence in multiple areas of ones life. This category was cited by two athletes, two significant others, and one coach. (Note: Having a more selective sense of confidence in regards to ones ability to perform in sport was categorized as sport confidence and was included under the umbrella group performance enhancement skills and characteristics.) A review of Figure 1 indicates six additional higher order categories that were each cited by one interview participant. The tag and corresponding higher-order category emotional was comprised of raw themes indicating strong emotions, such as passion, for ones sport and was cited by an athlete. Having a temperamental personality was also cited by an athlete. Coaches made all the singular citations indicating that the athlete spoke his or her mind, was manipulative, and that he or she knew the value of money. A significant other indicated that the athlete about whom he or she was interviewed was a realist while another significant other indicated that the athlete with whom he or she was familiar had a need for/ sought parental support. Performance Enhancement The second overall psychological characteristics umbrella was performance enhancement, and it also contained responses from all 30 participants. Raw themes were used to create tags that were coalesced into 16 higher order categories falling under this general umbrella group (See Figure 1). The contents of this group were psychological characteristics deemed by the interview participants as having helped the athlete achieve performance success. Specifically, higher order categories within performance enhancement included notions such as the ability focus, mental toughness, competitive attitude/ competitive, sport confidence, sport intelligence, coachable, productive training attitude and approach, ability to set goals, good imagery ability, ability to plan and prepare, being methodical/ routine oriented, being willing to try new things, being a good teammate, having the ability to maximize resources, having a high pain tolerance, and using positive self-talk. The ability to focus was further subcategorized into the ability to automatize, the ability to control what you can control, and the ability to focus/ not easily distracted. The largest higher order categories included focus (cited by 73.3% of respondents), mental toughness (73.3%), competition attitude/ competitive (63.3%), sport confidence (60%), sport intelligence (53.3%), and being coachable (50%). The largest higher order category, focus, was comprised of three tags, the ability to automatize, the ability to focus on what you can control, and the ability to focus/ not easily distracted. The majority of responses fell within the tag, ability to focus/ not easily distracted, with seven athletes, six significant others, and seven coaches making raw theme statements that fell into this tag. Raw theme statements within the ability to focus/ not easily distracted tag included the ability to dial in and the ability to intensely focus and quiet mind. As one athlete described it, I can get very focused. It is almost like where you get so focused time stands still. A significant other described the athletes ability to focus said, She has the uncanny ability , no matter what the situation is, to focus in on the task at hand.

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Other tags in the focus higher order category included the ability to automatize skills, the ability to focus on what one can control, and the ability to focus on ones self not on others. An example of the latter tag can be seen in this coachs quote regarding the athletes ability to remain focused on his own race. It didnt matter what anyone else was doing. They were not running his race. It only mattered how he was doing and I think that is how he looked at it. The mental toughness higher order category and corresponding tag was comprised of raw themes such as mentally tough, perseverance, resilient, and persistent. Eight athletes, eight significant others, and six coaches indicated that the athlete was mentally tough. The higher order category competition attitude/ competitiveness (cited by eight athletes, six significant others, and five coaches) and corresponding tag were made up of descriptions regarding a competitive nature or attitude. Interview participants comments were from three raw theme categories - intense, killer instinct, and competitive. The raw theme category, competitive, was comprised of raw themes such as competitive spirit, fighter, didnt give up, and competitive. Participants whose comments fell into this category described athletes as intense or as one athlete said [having an] aggressive go for it attitude. The higher order category of sport confidence was cited by eight athletes, five significant others, and five coaches. Athlete confidence was categorized as sport confidence (as opposed to general confidence in the general personality characteristics and values category) whenever the interview participant indicated that the athlete had confidence specifically in his or her abilities as an athlete in training and/ or in competition. Sport intelligence (cited by six athletes, five significant others, and five coaches) was a new concept that emerged from the data collected. This higher order category consisted of raw themes such as the ability to analyze, being innovative, being a student of the sport, making good decisions, understanding the nature of elite sport, and being a quick learner. One coach commented on his athletes ability to learn by filtering out poor and focusing on useful information in the following way: The greatest thing about her was she could really filter out what would work for her and what would not. So she could take input from everybody and she would only take 5% from one person and 95% from another. Five athletes, five significant others, and five coaches indicated that the athlete they were discussing was coachable. Coachability was defined as an athlete who had trust in the coach and who believed in the coach. Additionally, participants indicated that athletes who were coachable asked good questions, were never a problem (e.g., behavioral), took criticism well, and they listened to and used suggestions that that coach made for technique and performance enhancement. The higher order category of a productive training attitude and approach was cited by three athletes, two significant others, and five coaches. Raw themes in this category included the ability to work efficiently, having a disciplined approach to training, and having that attitude of approaching every training session as if it were a competition (e.g., training like he wanted to compete).

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Finally, further inspection of the performance enhancement skills and characteristics umbrella group in Figure 1 shows nine additional higher order categories that were cited by one to eight interview participants. These included having the ability to set goals, having good imagery ability, the ability to plan and prepare, being methodical/ routine oriented, being willing to try new things, being a good teammate, having the ability to maximize resources, having a high pain tolerance, and using positive self-talk. Both the ability to set goals and having good imagery ability was cited by 8 participants (the former by four athletes, three significant others, and one coach and the latter by six athletes, one significant other, and one coach). Having the ability to plan and prepare for training and competition and being methodical/ routine-oriented were both cited by three individuals. One athlete and two coaches cited being able to plan and prepare./ Three coaches cited their athlete as being methodical/ routine-oriented. Two coaches cited both willing to try new things/ takes risks and being a good teammate. The final higher order categories under this umbrella, having a high pain tolerance and using positive self-talk, were each cited by only one interview participant (by a significant other and an athlete, respectively). Motivational Issues and Orientations The third umbrella group in the psychological characteristics area was motivational issues and orientations (96.7% of participants provided responses in this category, 10 coaches, 10 significant others, and nine coaches), and it consisted of two higher order categories (See Figure 1). The higher order categories included drive (cited by 10 athletes, nine significant others, and nine coaches) and goal dedication (cited by one coach). The higher order category drive was further broken down into three tags: being driven to meet high expectations/ perfectionism, being driven to please others, and general motivation/ dedication/ determination. Of these subcategories, motivation/ dedication/ determination and being driven to meet personal high expectations/ perfectionism were the most cited with 86.7% and 53.3% of the participants having responses in each tag, respectively. Within the motivation/ dedication/ determination tag, the raw themes included motivated, driven, hard worker, and high work ethic. For example, one parent characterized his childs drive to meet high personal expectations/ perfectionism in the following way, He pushed himself, this kid was driving himself, and he kept striving to be better. Another athlete reflected on his drive and determination as follows, I think I worked really hard. There were a lot of athletes that might have been more talented than I was, but I think I was more determined. I wanted to do well and I wanted to reach my goals and I wasnt going to let anything stand in my way. Ability to Handle Adversity and Pressure and Psychological Characteristics to Overcome Adversity Two umbrella groups within psychological characteristics, the overall handling of adversity and pressure and having the psychological characteristics to overcome adversity, were somewhat related yet unique. While both umbrella groups were comprised of categories, tags, and raw themes that considered how athletes dealt with adverse situations, the two stood apart based on the context in which they were related. The first umbrella group, the overall handling of adversity and pressure, was cited by 63.3% of the interview participants. This umbrella group was made up of two higher order categories, dealing with having ways to cope with setbacks and ability to deal with the routine setbacks and anxiety associated with training and competing in developmental and elite levels of competition. One

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coach described his athletes ability to handle pressure in the following way: He was good under pressure, you know. It almost seemed like the more pressure he had on him, the better he did. The second umbrella group, psychological characteristics to overcome (cited by 16.7% of respondents one athlete, one significant other, and three coaches), dealt with having the personality characteristics and psychological capacity to handle extreme stress and adversity (e.g., low self-esteem, long-term illness, loss of sense of self/ having a sense of self only tied to athletics). This umbrella group was comprised of a higher order category and tag of the same name. One athlete, for example, described her successful struggle to overcome tying her identity to performance in the following way: I think my personality was totally tied in to performance and I couldnt separate the fact that I just played a bad game but Im still a good player, I just played a bad game, but Im still a good person. Other Psychological Categories Finally, three remaining umbrella groups round out the umbrella groups that comprise the psychological characteristics that described the athletes in this study (See Figure 1). These umbrella groups included self-awareness (cited by five athletes and three coaches), good morals/ sportspersonship (cited by one athlete, two significant others, and two coaches), and having a sense of balance between sport and life (cited by one significant other). Good morals/ sportspersonship, with 16.7% of participants responding, included the higher order categories of being a good person (cited by one athlete and two coaches) and having demonstrated good morals/ sportspersonship (cited by two significant others). The final two umbrella groups, self-awareness and having a sense of balance between sport and self were each comprised of a higher order category and tag of the same name and were cited by 26.7% and 3% of the participants, respectively. Qualitative Motives for Involvement Each of the 10 athletes was asked to break their athletic careers into three phases based on Blooms (1985) taxonomy of talent development. The first phase, the early years, was defined as when the athlete first got interested and first began participating in his or her sport. The second phase, the middle years, was defined as when the athlete chose to specialize in his or her particular sport, began receiving specialized training, and began training year round. The final phase, the elite years, began when the athlete started competing at a high, elite level of competition and was often viewed as synonymous with when the athlete first participated in the Olympics or World Championships. Based on each athletes defined chronological phases, interview participants were asked to identify all the participation motives that kept each individual involved in their sport during that time. For example, if Athlete A defined her early years as ranging from 5 -10 years old, her middle years from 11-15, and her elite years from 16 to present, than Athlete A, her coach, and her significant other were asked to identify her participation motives during each of the three phases as defined by Athlete A. Looking across all time phases, 398 different participation motives raw themes were identified by athletes, coaches, and significant others as reasons for athlete participation.

Olympic Talent Development These raw themes were organized into 57 different tags to create a similar language across participants responses (e.g., had fun, loved it, and liked it were all put into the tag fun/ enjoyment). These tags were further organized into 21 higher order categories of similar themes and ideas. While attempts were initially made to classify these higher order motive categories as intrinsic and extrinsic (Deci & Ryan, 1985), the investigative team decided against this approach, as it did not create logically separate categories.

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The 21 different higher order motivational categories identified included for general feelings of achievement/ competence, to achieve an Olympic dream, affiliation, attention/ recognition/ status, to be like a model (someone admired), competition, for encouragement, excitement, for extrinsic rewards, because it was the family lifestyle, because it was a free activity, for fun/ enjoyment, to give back to the sport, a sense of intrinsic motivation, love of the sport aspects, as a means to overcome adversity, for self-actualization, for something to do, and as a refuge from adversity. Table 4 contains the list of the 21 higher order motive categories and the number of respondents (athletes, coaches, and significant others) who mentioned each regardless of the time context. Achievement/ competence, love for the sport aspects, and competition were the most frequently cited reasons that athletes said they participated in their sport (n = 10, 9, and 8, respectively). Looking across all respondents, achievement/ competence, fun/ enjoyment, love of sport aspects, and attention/ recognition/ status were the most cited motives. Table 4. Higher order motive categories and number of participants citing motive categories across career phases Athletes Participation Motivation (n = 10) 1. Achievement/ Competence 10 2. Achieving an Olympic Dream 6 3. Affiliation 7 4. Attention/ Recognition/ Status 6 5. Be Like Model 7 6. Competition 8 7. Demotivation 1 8. Encouragement --9. Excitement 3 10. Extrinsic Rewards 4 11. Family Lifestyle 2 12. Free 1 13. Fun/ Enjoyment 7 14. Give Back To Sport 1 15. Intrinsic Motivation 6 16. Love of Sport Aspects 9 17. Means to Overcome Adversity --18. Self-Actualization 3 19. Something to Do 1 20. Sport as Refuge 1 21. Trapped/ Invested 2 Significant Other (n = 10) 10 6 5 6 4 4 1 2 2 1 3 --8 --3 6 -----------Coach (n = 10) 10 5 4 6 2 3 1 ----3 2 --7 1 6 3 2 1 1 2 --Totals (n=30) 30 17 16 18 13 15 3 2 5 8 7 1 22 2 15 18 2 4 2 3 2

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Two of the identified motivational higher order categories actually dealt with the lack of or loss of motivation. These categories were labeled demotivation and a sense of being trapped/ invested in the sport. It should be noted that only one athlete reported feeling demotivation. The sense of demotivation was experienced during this athletes elite years and interestingly, both the coach and significant other interviewed in connection with this athlete also indicated demotivation when asked about this athletes elite year participation motivation. This same individual also indicated a sense of feeling trapped during her elite years. This athlete said, I sacrificed a lot for my sport. I was very social in high school and I always wanted to be a cheerleader, on the student body, or doing something like that, so I kind of felt like if I had to give all of that sort of stuff up, I had better do something with myself here. Another athlete voiced the only other indication of feeling entrapped by ones sport during his middle years. This athlete indicated that he felt tied to his sport because of all of the time he had invested and the possibility of a college athletic scholarship. Additionally, five tags were identified that could not be sorted into different higher order categories and are not contained in Table 4. These participation motive tags included to get the coach off of ones back, participating for the right reason, not being motivated for recognition, because it was important to the athlete, and because it came easy. Early Years Motivation Within Blooms (1985) early time context, when athletes first began participating in their sport, athletes acknowledged 16 different motives as reasons they were motivated (See Table 5). All 10 athletes cited the motivation of achievement/ competence as being an important reason they participated during their early years. Eight athletes said they participated for the love of the sport. The motivation of being like a role model was indicated by six of the athletes interviewed. Role models the athletes emulated during this time period included older siblings in the sport, older successful athletes within their sport program, and respected coaches. Participating for fun and enjoyment was also cited by over half of the athlete sample (n = 6) as being a reason for early year participation. Four athletes each cited affiliation, competition, and to gain attention/ recognition/ status as early year motivating factors. Like the athletes, significant others (n=8) also indicated that during the early years athletes were motivated for a sense of achievement/ competence. Only three coaches cited achievement/ competence as reasons the young athletes participated, however it is important to recognize that most coaches did not answer questions regarding the athletes early years as they did not feel they had enough knowledge of this period. Among coaches, the most frequently cited reason for sport participation by these athletes during their early years was to achieve an Olympic dream (n = 5).

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Table 5. Early years higher order motive categories and the number of participants citing each Athletes Significant Other Coach Participation Motivation (n = 10) (n = 10) (n = 10) 1. Achievement/ Competence 10 8 3 2. Love of Sport Aspects 8 5 2 3. Fun/ Enjoyment 6 7 2 4. Be Like Model 6 3 2 5. Affiliation 4 3 2 6. Competition 4 4 1 7. Attention/ Recognition/ Status 3 3 1 8. Excitement 3 1 --9. Intrinsic Motivation 2 3 1 10. Achieving an Olympic Dream 1 5 2 11. Extrinsic Rewards 1 0 1 12. Family Lifestyle 1 3 --13. Free 1 ----14. Something to Do 1 ----15. Sport as Refuge 1 --1 Motives Not Cited by Athlete During Early Time Period Encouragement --1 --Means to Overcome Adversity ----1 Middle Years Motivation A breakdown of the higher order participation motivation categories during the middle or developmental years of sport involvement revealed 14 different motivation categories (See Table 6). Participating for achievement/ competence was cited by nine of the 10 athletes as a reason for participating in their sport during their middle years. Participating for affiliation, attention/ recognition/ status, fun/ enjoyment, and a love of the aspects of the sport were each indicated by four athletes. The remaining higher order categories in this section was cited by only one, two, or three participants each. Additionally, four motives were cited by coaches and or significant others that were not noted by the athletes themselves. These included participating for encouragement, excitement, means to overcome adversity, and something to do. Again, like in the early years, significant others cited a sense of achievement/ competence most frequently as a reason for continued participation in the middle years (n = 8). This motivation source was also the one most frequently cited by coaches for the athletes during this time context (n = 6). Half of the significant others interviewed also felt that the athletes participated for a sense of affiliation and for fun/ enjoyment. For the coaches interviewed, the second most frequently cited athlete motivation was to achieve their Olympic dream (n = 5). Totals (n=30) 21 15 15 11 9 9 7 4 5 8 2 4 1 1 2 1 1

Olympic Talent Development Table 6. Middle years higher order motive categories and the number of participants citing each Athletes Significant Other Coach Participation Motivation (n = 10) (n = 10) (n = 10) 1. Achievement/ Competence 9 8 6 2. Fun/ Enjoyment 4 5 4 3. Attention/ Recognition/ Status 4 4 4 4. Affiliation 4 5 2 5. Love of Sport Aspects 4 4 2 6. Be Like Model 3 1 2 7. Extrinsic Rewards 3 1 2 8. Self-Actualization 3 ----9. Competition 2 2 2 10. Intrinsic Motivation 2 2 4 11. Achieving an Olympic Dream 1 4 5 12. Family Lifestyle 1 ----13. Sport as Refuge 1 ----14. Trapped/ Invested 1 ----Motives Not Cited by Athletes During Middle Time Period Encouragement --1 --Excitement --1 --Means to Overcome Adversity ----1 Something to Do --10 1 Elite Years Motivation

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Totals (n=30) 23 13 12 11 10 6 6 3 6 8 10 1 1 1 1 -------

During the final career phase, the elite years, when athletes engaged in high level training and competition, their most frequently mentioned participation motive was again achievement/ competence (n = 9). Twelve more higher order participation motivation categories were cited by athletes during this period (See Table 7). The second most frequently mentioned motivation was competition, cited by five of the athletes. Additionally, two elite year participation motives, achieving an Olympic dream and encouragement, were cited by coaches and significant others but not by the athletes themselves. Many of the individuals in the significant other interview group had more trouble speculating on athletes motives during the elite years (particularly parents). Still, seven of these individuals cited a sense of achievement/ competence as being why athletes continued to participate into the elite years. This was also the most frequently mentioned motivation by coaches when asked why athletes continued to participate (n = 6). Interestingly, only four coaches and significant others indicated that athletes participated to achieve an Olympic dream, despite the fact that the elite years were when the athlete had finally risen to the elite level in their sport.

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Table 7. Elite years higher order motive categories and the number of participants citing each Athletes Significant Other Coach Participation Motivation (n = 10) (n = 10) (n = 10) 1. Achievement/ Competence 10 7 6 2. Competition 5 3 1 3. Love Of Sport Aspects 4 ----4. Attention/ Recognition/ Status 3 4 4 5. Fun/ Enjoyment 3 1 4 6. Intrinsic Motivation 3 --4 7. Affiliation 2 --2 8. Extrinsic Rewards 2 --2 9. Be Like Model 1 ----10. Demotivation 1 1 1 11. Give Back To Sport 1 --1 12. Self-Actualization 1 ----13. Trapped/ Invested 1 ----Motives Not Cited by Athletes during Elite Time Period Achieving An Olympic Dream ---2 4 Encouragement ---1 --Comparison of Motivation Across Phases of Athlete Development Table 8 contrasts the responses of all participants for each motive category across each of Blooms (1985) phases of athlete development. An inspection of this table reveals that motives cited for involvement changes across Blooms (1985) stages. Specifically, achievement/ competence was often cited and steady across the three phases. Achieving the Olympic dream was not cited at all in the early years, most often in the middle years with a slight drop in the elite years. Affiliation was most cited most often in the early and middle years and less often in the elite years. Similarly, modeling, fun/ enjoyment and love of sports aspects followed the same pattern. Something to do was most often cited in the middle years and seldom in the early or elite years of involvement. Finally, attention/ recognition citations were cited, but less often in the early years as compared to the middle and elite years. Totals (n=30) 23 9 4 11 8 7 4 4 1 3 2 1 1 6 3

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Table 8. Participation motives and total participant citations across Blooms (1985) Phases of Athlete Development Motive Achievement/ Competence Achieving an Olympic Dream Affiliation Attention/ Recognition/ Status Be Like Model Competition Demotivation Encouragement Excitement Extrinsic Rewards Family Lifestyle Free Fun/ Enjoyment Give Back to Sport Love of Sport Aspects Means to Overcome Adversity Self-Actualization Something to Do Sport As Refuge Trapped/ Invested Early Years 21 --9 7 11 9 --1 4 2 4 1 15 --15 1 --1 2 --Middle Years 23 10 11 12 6 6 --1 1 6 1 --13 --10 1 3 11 1 1 Elite Years 23 6 4 11 1 9 3 1 -4 ----8 2 4 --1 ----1

Qualitative Perceptions of Physical Characteristics Interview participants were asked to identify the physical characteristics each athlete possessed that assisted him or her in achieving athletic success during his or her career. From the 30 verbatim interview transcripts, 178 raw data themes were identified through independent transcript analysis by the three main researchers. Using three person consensual content analysis, the raw data themes were separated into 104 tags. These tags provided a common language across participants (e.g., the raw themes strength and strong were both put in the tag strength/ power). The tags were further sorted into seven higher order categories (See Figure 2). Each higher order category was comprised of similar tags (e.g., the tag strength/ power was combined with other tags such as aerobic capacity/ endurance and coordinated/ agile under the higher order umbrella of right physiological systems for sport). Higher order physical characteristic categories included: athletic background, abilities and talent, genetic endowment, general physical description/ not specific to sport, good overall conditioning, physical limitations to overcome, right physiological systems for sport, and well suited body structure. Each of these higher order categories will now be discussed with emphasis placed on large tags and categories.

Olympic Talent Development Figure 2. Physical characteristics organized into tags and higher order categories and the number of individuals citing each (n = 30) Higher Order Category Tag General talent for sport (17) Good sport specific technique (12) All around physical ability (7) Multi-sport background (4) Gifted early in sport (2) Strength/ power (12) Speed/ fast (8) Coordinated/ agile (8 Aerobic capacity/ endurance (6) Flexible (5) Good recovery ability (1) Anaerobic capacity (1) Heal well/ low injury rate (1)

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Athletic background, (26) abilities, & talent

Right physiological (21) systems for sport

Genetic endowment (17)

Good feel/ kinesthetic ability (8) Genetic ability (6) High pain tolerance/ physically tough (6) Physically active/ hyperactive (4) Quick learner (2) Good reaction time (2) Right body type for sport (10) Right body size for sport (8) Didnt start with sport body ideal (5) Not as talented (3) Physical limitations/ not healthy (3) Clumsy in other areas (1) Early years good but not best (1) General physical characteristics (6) Good fitness/ conditioning (4) Good nutrition (1)

Well suited body structure

(13)

Physical limitations (11) to overcome General physical description/ Not specific to sport Good overall conditioning

(6) (5)

Athletic Background, Abilities, and Talent The most frequently cited higher order category, athletic background, abilities, and talent, was cited by 26 of the 30 participants (86.7%, eight athletes, eight coaches, and 10 significant others). This category included the tags all around physical ability, general talent for sport, gifted early in sport, good sport specific technique, and having a multi-sport

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background (see Figure 2). An inspection of Figure 2 shows that general talent for sport (six athletes, five significant others and six coaches) and good sport specific technique (five athletes, two significant others, and five coaches) were the most often cited tags within this higher order category. In citing her general aptitude for sport, one athlete said, I was always kind of good for my age, while one parent commented, as he got older twelve, thirteen, fourteen, it became obvious that he got better each year." Three athletes, three significant others, and one coach indicated that the athlete had an all around physical ability. Two athletes, one significant other and one coach cited the athlete had a background in many different kinds of sports as a youngster in addition to his or her experience in the sport he or she eventually excelled in. Lastly in the athletic background, abilities, and talent higher order category, two significant others indicated that the athlete displayed an early gift in sport. Having the Right Physiological System for the Sport Having the right physiological system for the sport in which the athlete excelled was the second most frequently mentioned higher order category (21 of 30 respondents, 70% six athletes, eight coaches, and seven significant others). The tags that combined to create this higher order category included an aerobic capacity/ endurance, anaerobic capacity, being coordinated/ agile, being flexible, having good recovery ability, being able to heal well/ low injury rate, having speed/ being fast, and having strength/ power. The tag of aerobic capacity/ endurance included statements such as I do have a relatively high lung capacity and VO2 capacity, indicated by an athlete who participated in a sport where aerobic endurance was important. In response to questions regarding what physical attributes allowed her to be successful in her sport, one athlete indicated the importance of her sense of coordination by saying she was extremely coordinated, extremely catlike. Genetic Endowment Seventeen of the interview participants (56.7%) mentioned the role that genetic endowment played in the sport success achieved by these athletes. Of these 17, seven of the responses came from athletes, five from coaches, and the remaining five came from significant others. Seven tags, genetic ability, good feel/ kinesthetic ability/ good reaction time, high pain tolerance/ physically tough, physically active/ hyperactive, and quick learner, were combined to create the genetic endowment higher order category. The tag of physically active/ hyperactive contained raw themes indicating that the athlete was active/ hyperactive in a healthy, positive way. As one athlete said that he was very busy as a child because I was rather hyperactive as a kid. Genetic ability was comprised of statements that incorporated the idea of being born with the genetic make-up suitable for the sport demands. Several athletes and other interview participants made general reference to the importance of genetics to their success, while one athlete specifically stated that she felt her athletic ability had come genetically from her fathers side of the family. High pain tolerance/ physically tough and quick learner were made up, respectively, of raw themes indicating that athletes were able to handle the physical demands of training without complaint and that they were able to learn new skills and incorporate new suggestions

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quickly. Good kinesthetic feel/ reaction time included both athletes abilities to respond to things in the environment (e.g., opponents, balls, changing conditions) and to their awareness of their own body and what it was doing during competition. This awareness is seen in the following quote: I think that I have a lot of physical awareness of where my body was position wise, technique wise, I dont know if you are really taught some of those things. I think it is just a given ability. This quote was made by an athlete who participated in a sport where physical awareness was of particular importance. Other Higher Order Categories The remaining four higher order physical characteristic categories were well suited body structure, physical limitations to overcome, general physical description/ not specific to sport, and good overall conditioning. The well-suited body structure higher order category was found in the responses of 13 out of the 30 participants (43.4%, four athletes, three coaches, and six significant others). Two tags, right body size and right body type for the given sport, comprised this higher order category. Raw themes within these two tags reflected specific body dimensions and characteristics that were important for each sport (e.g., a basketball player may have indicated the advantage of having attained a height of six feet, ten inches). The final higher order category, physical limitations to overcome (see Figure 8), encompasses conditions perceived by the athlete and other interview participants as obstacles in the pursuit of his or her athletic excellence. This category included the tags of clumsy in other areas, didnt start with an ideal body for the sport chosen, being good but not the best during the early years, not being as physically talented as others in the sport, and physical limitations/ not healthy. The tag, physical limitation/ not healthy, was cited by 50% of the athletes, 30% of the parents/ siblings/ significant others, and 30% of the athletes. One athlete indicated that being clumsy was a limitation to overcome while one of the coaches interviewed indicated that the athlete with whom he was familiar was good but not the best. Two athletes, two parents/ siblings/ significant others, and one coach (interestingly with no overlap) interviewed indicated that early in the athletes career the individual did not have the body type best suited for his or her sport (e.g., skinny as a kid, small for age). Finally, three athletes stated that they felt they were not as physically talented as other athletes in their sport, however, all three of the athletes felt they were able to overcome this due to other characteristics, such as their determination. As one athlete said, I was not as big or powerful anaerobically strong as the other athletes so I found ways to compensate. The higher order physical characteristics category of general physical description/ not specific to sport contains all physical descriptors (See Figure 2) of the athletes that were not deemed to be relevant to their success as athletes within the context of their particular sport (e.g., being small for a skier). Overall, six interview participants (20%) cited physical characteristics that fell into this higher order category (one athlete, one coach, and four significant others). Five participants (16.7%) had responses that fell into the higher order category of good overall conditioning (one athlete, two coaches, and two significant others). Good fitness/ conditioning and good nutrition were the tags that comprised this category. These tags were comprised of raw theme statements made by interview participants that indicated

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that the athletes maintained training and nutritional habits that were beneficial to the lifestyle of an elite athlete. These raw themes included ideas such as taking good care of oneself, training at a high level for a number of years, and having good nutritional habits. Psychological Characteristic Development: Sources of Influence Study participants were asked how they felt these elite athletes developed the psychological strengths and characteristics that helped them achieve success. Specifically, the athletes were asked to identify individuals and situations that assisted their psychological development over time and within each of the three Blooms (1985) stages: the early; middle; and elite years. Coaches and parents/ siblings/ significant others were asked to identify what they did to help assist the athletes development. Additionally, they were asked to indicate other individuals and influences they thought may have impacted the athletes development. Overall, 634 raw themes were noted regarding sources of influence (e.g., individuals, institutions) and perceived to have an impact on the athletes psychological development. These sources of influence were categorized into six overall source categories. The overall sources included: Community, Family, Individual development, Non-sport personnel, Sport environment personnel, and The sport process. Community, as an influential source, included both the individuals and the general environment that the athlete experienced while growing up (e.g., a wealthy standard of living). The overall source category of family was comprised of family environment, grandparents (grandmother, grandfather, grandparents), parents (mom, dad, parents), siblings (brothers, sisters, siblings), and significant others. Individual development was comprised of genetic factors, maturity (defined as the natural process of time and growing up), and selfdevelopment (defined as individual experiences and self-realizations). For example, after several difficult injuries one athlete had the self-realization that she would need to fight through adversity in order to overcome and be successful. Another athlete indicated that his confidence grew as a result of his own hard work and the success he experienced. Non-sport personnel sources of influence on development included friends and teachers. The overall influence source category of sport environment personnel included agents, coaches, other/ former elite athletes, competitors, sport psychologists, and teammates. The final overall source of influence category was the sport process itself. This category included competition, the nature of the sport, sport adversity (e.g., sport frustration, losing, the physical adversity of sport), training, and the sport program/ organization.

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Within each of the overall sources of influence categories (e.g., community, family), ways in which each source impacted the athletes psychological development (e.g., taught, modeled, provided encouragement) were labeled modes of influence. Whenever possible, what was influenced was also noted (e.g., self-responsibility, confidence) using the same language as was used in the psychological characteristics results. Modes of influence included such practices as parents directly teaching, discussing, or emphasizing things (e.g., work ethic, determination, focus) with their child-athlete while what was influenced was the psychological outcome such as increased confidence or enhanced sportspersonship. For example, parents emphasized hard work and discipline with their child/ -athlete by expecting him or her to try his or her hardest and do the best he or she could which in turn influenced the athletes work ethic. Finally, it must be noted that the modes of influence on psychological development within each overall source category (e.g., family, non-sport personnel) were organized separately for each source due to the fact that the specific modes cited varied across sources. Modes of influence, or ways in which the sources of influence both consciously and unconsciously impacted athlete development, were noted as raw themes. Using the threeperson consensus methodology described previously, raw themes were organized into tags, tags were organized into higher order categories, and higher order categories were organized into umbrella groups when necessary. This section will explore the umbrella groups and higher order categories of modes of influence for each source that played a role in athlete development. Necessary tags and raw themes will also be explored. Modes Within the Community Interview participants indicated that athletes development was influenced by the active community lifestyle in which he or she was brought up and exposure to other achievers within the community (See Figure 3). Thus, the community (the environment and individuals in the environment collectively) helped shape the athlete due to the active lifestyle of the individuals in the community and through the achievement orientation of those in the community. For example, one coach indicated that being a part of a community where effort and achievement were evident all around the athlete helped her make an association between working hard and personal achievement. Figure 3. Higher order categories and umbrella groups for the community source modes of influence and number of individuals citing each (n = 30) Source Community Umbrella Group Exposure to achievers influenced (2) Active lifestyle influenced (1) Higher Order Category Exposure to achievers influenced (2) Active lifestyle influenced (1)

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Teachers and friends were the two sources cited that comprised the overall source category of non-sport personnel (See Figure 4). Teachers were said to influence athletes by emphasizing expectations and standards, by taking interest in the athlete, and through direct teaching of important skills such as imagery and the ability to relax. For example, one athlete indicated that he learned the imagery techniques that he later used in his sport from a teacher outside of the sport environment. Teachers also influenced athletes academic work ethic by emphasizing expectations and standards Additionally, teachers were said to have played an important role in athlete's development by taking a personal interest in the athlete. One athlete noted that a teacher was important to his psychological development because the teacher showed an interest in him as an individual beyond his sport involvement. This helped the athlete see himself beyond his sport identity. Figure 4. Higher order categories and umbrella groups for the non-sport personnel source modes of influence and number of individuals citing each (n = 30) Source Teachers Umbrella Group
Emphasized expectations and standards (1)

Higher Order Category


Emphasized expectations and standards (1)

Took interest (1) Taught (1) Success in other domains (1) Support provided (1) Taught indirectly (2)

Took interest (1) Taught (1) Success in other domains (1) Support provided (1) Taught indirectly (2)

Friends

Friends, the second source of influence under the non-sport personnel mode umbrella, influenced athletes development by directly providing support, providing success in other domains, and through indirect teaching. One athlete indicated that peer support helped her maintain a sense of normalcy after achieving international elite level success. Another important way friends helped one athletes development was through the realization that he could create and excel at non-sport related friendships. This helped build his confidence by experiencing success in other domains (e.g., making friends) outside of sport. Additionally, friends indirectly taught athletes adversity coping skills and a sense of determination through teasing. Modes Within the Sport Process Source The sport process itself provided five specific sources of influence including competition, the nature of the sport, sport program/ sport organization, training, and sport adversity (See Figure 5). These sources of influence impacted athletes psychological development in a number of ways.

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Figure 5. Higher order categories and umbrella groups for the sport process source modes of influence and number of individuals citing each (n = 30) Source
Competition

Umbrella Group
Taught indirectly (11)

Higher Order Category


Able to see what elite competition was like (1) Competition experience taught (7) General sport experience taught (2) Success taught (8) Competition experience taught (1) Fostered/ nurtured/ instilled (1) General sport experience influenced (5) Multi-sport experience fostered (5) Nature of sport fostered (4) Fostered/ nurtured/ instilled (1) Provided elite models (1) Provided positive environments and opportunities (4) Support provided (1) Fostered motivational techniques (1) Were optimistic/ positive (1) Taught (2) Fostered/ nurtured/ instilled (5) Taught (7)

Nature of Sport

Competition experience taught (1) Fostered/ nurtured/ instilled (1) General sport experience influenced (5) Multi-sport experience fostered (5) Nature of sport fostered (4) Fostered/ nurtured/ instilled (1) Provided elite models (1) Provided positive environments and opportunities (4) Support provided (1) Fostered motivational techniques (1) Were optimistic/ positive (1) Taught (2) Fostered/ nurtured/ instilled (5) Taught (7)

Sport Program/ Organizations

Training Sport Adversity

Competition. Competition, as a part of the sport process source of psychological development, was found to have indirectly taught athletes through demonstrating what elite competition was like, providing success experiences, allowing participation in the competition experience, and the general overall experience of competition. When discussing how competition and success in competition affected the athletes psychological skills and development one coach mentioned, I think in her case it was probably something that she developed along the way (through the competitive experience). As she got more and more successful she realized that you had to be more and more focused. Nature of the sport. The nature of the sport in which the athlete was involved was responsible for helping the athlete psychologically develop in a number of ways. These included the nature of the competition experience within that sport, the nature of the sport fostering/ nurturing/ instilling attitudes and development, the general sport experience, having multi-sport experiences, and the very nature of the sport itself. All of these components taught, influenced, nurtured, fostered, or instilled psychological characteristics such as focus, work ethic, ability to relax, ability to work effectively with people, and responsibility. In citing the important influence of the nature of his sport on his psychological development, one athlete said, I guess my ability to relax just came with experience. I have been through so many different competitions that there is really nothing that can surprise me.

Olympic Talent Development So I find it pretty easy to be in a relaxed frame of mind even in a big competition.

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Another athlete, citing the impact that her experiences in her sport had on her ability to remain humble while achieving great success stated, My sport was relatively an unknown sport in the states so it was easy not to get too big of a head. Sport program/ organization. The overall sport program/ organization itself influenced the athletes in seven different ways including the fostering/ nurturing/ instilling positive skills, ideals and attitudes, providing elite models, providing a positive environment and opportunities, providing general support, fostering motivational techniques, an optimistic/ positive attitude, and direct teaching. The sport programs/ organizations were cited as influencing self-challenge, goal setting, confidence, the separation of sense of self from sport, focus, pride, and enjoyment. Local and national clubs and camps were cited by athletes, parents, and coaches as having provided helpful goal setting meetings and inspirational speeches. Training. Training for sport was indicated to facilitate athlete development through fostering/ nurturing/ instilling the psychological characteristics necessary to achieve success. The coach citing the influence of training indicated that the discipline required to train played a role in the development of the athletes confidence, focus, and her ability to remain emotionally calm during difficult situations. Sport adversity. The fifth and final source of development within the sport process mode was sport adversity. Facing sport adversity such as losing in competition and training frustrations were cited as directly teaching athletes skills and attitudes important to psychological development. The experience of sport adversity taught athletes how to lose with grace, mental strength, determination, the ability to cope with adversity as well as an understanding that frustration comes with success. In discussing the positive impact that the frustration of losing had on him, one athlete stated, Two years in a row, I was beat by the same guy. I actually just turned those losses into a positive and by the third year there was no way he was going beat me. I was prepared mentally and I think, you know, physically I was probably as prepared as I was any time. But mentally I was really sound and I ended up with a time that is still a conference record. Im positive that getting beat had everything to do with mental preparation and I am positive I wouldnt have run that time if it werent if I hadnt been put in that situation. Modes Within the Individual Development Source Individual development was another psychological development source for athletes and was broken down into three more specific sources including genetics, maturity, and selfdevelopment (See Figure 6). Each source within this category provided different modes of psychological development for the athletes.

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Figure 6. Higher order categories and umbrella groups for the individual development source modes of influence and number of individuals citing each (n = 30) Source Genetics Umbrella Group Genetics determined (7) Dealing with adversity affected (2) Hard work pays off attitude instilled (2) Learned from coaching interactions (1) Learned on own (4) Put self in positive environments and opportunities (1) Sense of self-awareness (6) Simulation influenced (1) Success taught (1) Use of mental skills fostered (4) Higher Order Category Genetics determined (7) Dealing with adversity affected (2) Hard work pays off attitude instilled (2) Learned from coaching interactions (1) Learned on own (4) Put self in positive environments and opportunities (1) Sense of self-awareness (6) Simulation influenced (1) Success taught (1) Use of mental skills fostered (4)

Self Development

Maturity

Development through maturity influenced (9) Natural development (3)

Development through maturity influenced (9) Natural development (3)

Genetics. Genetics was viewed as an unalterable factor that the successful athletes made the most of in their development. The athlete who cited genetics as important to his psychological development indicated that a genetic ability to tolerate the pain of training increased his ability to focus and his general mental toughness. Self-development. Self-development helped individuals grow through a sense of selfawareness, by putting oneself in the right environment, and using other mental skills to help ones own development. In explanation of how self-development helped her, one athlete indicated that, I think my other strong positive qualities developed because I was stubborn and determined. I would work and work and work until I got something. If I wasnt satisfied with something, I would just work at it and work at it and think about it every day and just really dedicate myself to it. Maturity. Maturity was cited as playing a role in the development of psychological characteristics important to success through maturity and natural development. Two respondents, an athlete and an unrelated coach, indicated that the general maturity that comes with time was an important component of the athletes development. This maturity influenced focus, confidence in making good decisions, the ability to separate self-identity from sport identity, the ability to work hard, and overall dedication. Modes Within the Sport Environment Personnel Source The overall source category of sport environment personnel included the coaches, teammates, sport psychology consultants, other/ former elite athletes, competitors, and agents as individuals who played an important role in the athletes successful psychological development. Each source provided distinct modes of psychological development (See Figure 7).

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Figure 7. Sport environment personnel source modes of influence and number of individuals citing each (n = 30)
Source Umbrella Group Confidence in athlete (1) Feedback/ critique (1) General influence (1) Provided positive environment & opportunities (1) Emphasized (4) Higher Order Category Confidence in athlete (1) Feedback/ critique (1) General influence (1) Provided positive environment & opportunities (1) Expectations & standards (1) Fun (1) Hard work & discipline (1) Hard work pays off (1) Coaching style influenced (1) Elite coaching status influenced (1) Trustworthiness influenced (1) Was optimistic/ positive (1) Mentored (1) Taught (1) Taught psychological skills (1) Fostered/ nurtured/ instilled (1) Modeled (1) Individualized/ met psychological needs (1) Provided individual attention (1) Understood athlete (1) Challenged (1) Used motivational techniques (1) No pressure (1) Encouraged (1) Support provided (1) Unconditional love & support fostered (1) Mentored (1) General influence (1) Trained with opposite sex (1) Training environment fostered (1) Encouraged (1) Support provided (2) Fostered/ nurtured/ instilled (1) Modeled (2) Learned together (1) Fostered/ nurtured/ instilled (1) Listened well (1) Provided positive environment & opportunities (1) Provided individual attention (1) Support provided (1) Taught psychological skills (1) Encouraged (1) Modeled (1) Atmosphere influenced (1) Experience taught (1) Pushed (1) General influence (1) Modeled (1)

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Coaching Characteristics (5)

Taught directly (4) Coach Taught indirectly (1) Individualized/ Understood athlete (3) Motivated (2) Provided encouragement/ Support (4) Mentored (1) General team environment (3)

Provided encouragement/ support (1) Teammates Taught indirectly (4)

Sport Psychology Consultant

Fostered/ nurtured/ instilled (1) Listened well (1) Provided positive environment & opportunities (1) Provided individual attention (1) Support provided (1) Taught psychological skills (1)

Other/ former Encouraged (1) Elite athletes Modeled (1) Atmosphere influenced (1) Experience taught (1) Pushed (1) General influence (1) Modeled (1)

Competitors

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Coaches. As might be expected, coaches played an important role in the development and growth of these athletes and provided many modes of development. As one athlete said, I think the coaches I had at different times were good for me. The coach I had during my adolescence was good because he was tough and kind of forced me to be tough or tougher than I thought I was. My later coach was nurturinghe gave me certain key triggers for me to get focused and keep me in the right frame of mind. Coaches provided encouragement and support unconditionally and without pressure. They motivated their athletes using motivational techniques and through challenges. The methods coaches used were as different as the athletes themselves. For example, one coach helped maintain his athletes focus and motivation by ordering her to take time off and go shopping because he knew she was unable to allow herself relaxation time. Another coach, uncharacteristically, gave the athlete a literal kick in the butt at a practice, a move that was described by both the athlete and the coach as being perfect for the moment. Influential coaches took the time to individualize programs, provide individual attention, meet individual needs, and understand his or her athlete as a person. Coaches taught both directly (mentoring, teaching psychological skills, planned teaching) and indirectly (fostering/ nurturing/ instilling important skills, modeling). These coaches emphasized expectations and standards, hard work, discipline and the attitude that hard work will pay off. One parent in describing the positive impact a middle years coach had on her sons psychological development, stated that the coach was stern and meant business. This coach told his athletes that he expected them to be respectable young citizens who stayed out of trouble and kept their grades up. The confidence that these coaches had and displayed in their athletes helped psychological development. As one athlete said, Coach X, I mean, he just believed in me and that is all it takes. You know, I just feel like he cared about me as a person and he believed in me as an athlete. Coaches provided positive and helpful feedback and critiques that helped guide athlete development as well as provided positive growing environments and opportunities. Additionally, study participants indicated that coaches had many positive characteristics that helped the development of these successful athletes. These characteristics included a positive coaching style, the elite status of the coach (as a former athlete and/ or as a current coach), good communication patterns, overall trustworthiness, and a sense of optimism or overall positive attitude. Teammates. The next source within this overall category was teammates, including both same and opposite sex teammates. These teammates helped each other learn and mentored each others development. For instance, in describing a paradigm shift regarding the nature of competition and how he perceived it, one athlete said, What helped me make that shift was a teammate. We were sitting and talking one day and we realized that the sport really stinks because you struggle all the time. You go out everyday and you hammer and try harder and try something new, and then something else goes awry. And when you realize that its not

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Teammates also provided support and encouragement and taught psychological lessons indirectly through modeling and by fostering, nurturing, and instilling helpful psychological characteristics. The environment created among the members of a team was also cited as useful for general psychological development. For three of the female participants in this study, this environment included training and/ or competing with male teammates. The importance of this interaction was mentioned by one of the significant others interviewed. This significant other indicated that training with the men really facilitated the athletes development because if she didnt work hard, keep plugging away, and remain positive and focused she wouldnt have been able to keep up with them. These interactions helped develop this female athletes confidence as well as provided an overall general positive developmental influence. Sport psychology consultants. Experiences with a sport psychology consultant facilitated athlete development through a number of avenues. The consultants listened well, fostered/ nurtured/ instilled a positive mindset and sense of consistency, helped provide the right opportunities and environment for learning, provided individual attention, provided support, and directly taught psychological skills. Other/ former elite athletes. Other elite athletes and former elite athletes who were not directly involved in the athletes programs or lives (e.g., coaches, teammates) were also cited as having an impact on their psychological development. These elite athletes served as important influences that provided role models and encouragement to the developing athletes. One parent and the athlete as well described the important influence of an Olympic gold medallist from another sport. At a young age this athlete was inspired by this Olympic champions achievements and carried around her picture, declaring that she too would achieve Olympic success. Competitors. Competitors influenced athletes by creating a competitive atmosphere, the competitive experience, pushing the athletes to achieve, through behavior modeling, and were also cited as a general influence source. Agents. For one athlete, his agent was described as fostering/ nurturing/ instilling characteristics important for success. This athletes parent felt that through personal involvement, this agent fostered goal setting skills and skill transfer from sport to life in the athlete. Modes Within the Family Source Family, the largest overall source of influence category, included parents, grandparents, siblings, and significant others (boyfriends, girlfriends, or spouses). A large range of modes of psychological development were included in these sub sources (See Figure 8).

Olympic Talent Development Figure 8. Family source modes of influence and number of individuals citing each (n = 30) Source Umbrella Group Being teased influenced (1) Feedback/ critique influenced (1) Sibling rivalry (3) Support provided (1) Taught directly (1) Taught indirectly (4) Active lifestyle influenced (1) General influence (1) Taught (2) Was optimistic/ positive (1) Taught indirectly (2) Feedback/ critique affected (1) General influence (1) Support provided (1) Taught (1) Was optimistic/ positive (1) Taught indirectly (2) Kept success in perspective (1) Objective evaluation of performance (1) Understood sport (1) Taught (1) Modeled (1) Used motivational techniques (1) Family Environment Emphasized (4) Higher Order Category
Being teased influenced (1) Feedback/ critique influenced (1) Sibling rivalry (3) Support provided (1) Taught directly (1) Fostered/ nurtured/ instilled (1) Modeled (4) Active lifestyle influenced (1) General influence (1) Taught (2) Was optimistic/ positive (1) Fostered/ nurtured/ instilled (1) Modeled (1) Feedback/ critique affected (1) General influence (1) Support provided (1) Taught (1) Was optimistic/ positive (1) Fostered/ nurtured/ instilled (1) Modeled (1)

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Sibling

Grandparents

Significant Other

Kept success in perspective (1) Objective evaluation of performance (1) Understood sport (1) Taught (1) Modeled (1) Used motivational techniques (1) Expectations & standards (1) Hard work & discipline (1) Expectations of follow-through (1) Hard work pays off attitude instilled (1) No pressure (1) Support provided (1) Active lifestyle influenced (1) Competition atmosphere influenced (1) Dysfunctional family environment (1) Financial issues affected (1) Good communication skills affected (1) Nature of family fostered (1) Was optimistic/ positive (1) Parenting style (1) Religious upbringing environment (1)

Provided encouragement & support (2)

Family characteristics (9)

Olympic Talent Development Figure 8 continued. Family source modes of influence and number of individuals citing each (n = 30) Source Umbrella Group Feedback/ critique affected (1) General influence (2) Religious upbringing (1) Understood sport (2) Taught (3) Emphasized (8) Higher Order Category
Feedback/ critique affected (1) General influence (2) Religious upbringing (1) Understood sport (2) Taught (3) Expectations & standards (3) Hard work & discipline (2) Expectations of follow-through influenced (3) Fostered/ nurtured/ instilled (4) Modeled (3) Success taught (1) Challenged (1) Used motivational techniques (3) Positive push (2)

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Taught indirectly (8)

Motivated (6) Parents

Created achievement environment (14)

Active lifestyle influenced (2) Competitive atmosphere influenced (2) Involved in childs activities (1) Kept success in perspective (3) Provided positive environment & opportunities (3) Provided structure/ set limits (3) No pressure (2) Support provided (3) Unconditional love/ support fostered (3) Good communication pattern affected (1) Lack of communication (1) Parents balance each other (1) Were optimistic/ positive (3) Parenting style (2)

Provided encouragement & Support (8)

Parenting characteristics (8)

Siblings. Sibling influenced the psychological development of the athletes participating in this study through teasing, by offering feedback and critique, through sibling rivalry, by providing support, and by teaching both directly and indirectly. Indirect teaching involved fostering/ nurturing/ instilling positive and healthy values and attitudes as well as modeling. Grandparents. Grandparents were influence by leading active lifestyles, by being optimistic/ positive, and through teaching both directly and indirectly. Indirect teaching included both modeling and fostering/ nurturing/ instilling positive and healthy attitudes and values. Additionally, grandparents had a positive general influence on their athletic grandchildrens psychological development.

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Significant others. Athletes significant others impacted psychological development through indirect teaching (modeling, fostering/ nurturing/ instilling) and through intentionally teaching important attitudes and skills. Significant others also had a positive/ optimistic attitude, provided support as well as helpful feedback and critique. Mentioning the support she received from her significant other during a time she was struggling and performing poorly one athlete said, My husband was trying everything he could to be supportive and not get in my way. He was honest and he could see things and talk about things that the coaches werent brave enough to bring up. Family environment. The family environment sub source (within the overall family source) includes things done within the family or due to the nature of the family dynamics that influenced psychological development but could not be attributed to any one individual alone. Examples included things such as the nature of a large family or family dynamics within a single parent household. The modes of influence within the family environment included keeping success in perspective, objective evaluation of performance, an overall understanding of the sport, intentionally teaching psychological skills and characteristics within the family, modeling, and using motivational techniques. One parent, describing the important influence of the family on her child-athlete, cited how everyone in the family was always there for each other and the general supportive atmosphere within the family. The family environment was also cited as emphasizing expectations and standards, hard work and discipline, the importance of follow-through, and the attitude that hard work pays off. Participants indicated that the family environment did not place undo pressure on the athlete rather it provided unconditional support and love. General family characteristics. Finally, general family characteristics were cited as being important in the development of the psychological characteristics associated with success. These modes included an active family lifestyle (everyone active), a healthy competitive environment, good communication skills, the nature of the family itself (e.g., independent, motivated), parenting styles, religious orientation, and an optimistic/ positive style. It is important to note that a dysfunctional family environment and financial issues were also indicated as being modes of development within the family environment that helped athletes develop the psychological characteristics that helped them succeed. For example, one athlete indicated that although the stress he experienced as a result of his parents divorce was difficult, it did help him develop positive helpful coping skills. Interestingly, the athletes citing these influences indicated that while these events werent easy at the time, both circumstances did help them develop their strength and determination. Parents. Parents, like coaches, were cited as playing a large role in the development of the healthy psychological characteristics of these Olympic champions. The sub source category parents, within the overall source of family, included things that mothers, fathers, or parents as a unit did that influenced the athletes psychological development. These modes of influence included providing feedback and critique, providing a religious upbringing, showing an understanding of the sport, and directly teaching. One parent of a gifted athlete, in describing the actions of her spouse, indicated that as a father he had a lot of influence on the athletes development. She indicated that he pushed all of his children, including their Olympic champion, in positive and never destructive ways. Parents were also found to provide unconditional love and support with no pressure and to motivate athletes through challenges, motivational techniques, and using positive parental pushing. Examples of

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positive parental pushing included Pushing me enough so it still came from my heart. The times I really needed the motivation, they were right there giving it to me and I think I had a really good balance between enough discipline and enough good humor that it worked out well. Other sources of positive support, such as a caring coach, were evident as well. Although in the minority, there were several cases where a parent was not positively supportive, instead basing or withholding love depending on how the athlete performed or pressuring or pushing their athlete. In these cases, however, the other parent exhibited unconditional love and support that offset many of these negative effects. Expectations of hard work, discipline, follow-through, and upholding standards were modes of influence provided by parents as was indirect teaching using modeling and fostering and nurturing good skills and characteristics. The hard work ethic mode was derived form statements such as: My people came over from Italy at the turn of the century and they set goals and I used to tell the kids this all the time. They had backbone and guts. They didnt sit down and cry and say poor me, everybody is discriminating against me. They go up and worked hard and excelled over the years. They were successful but they worked. An emphasis on the follow-through mode was best epitomized by the following parent statement: If the children made a commitment, I expected them to follow-through. I would tell them you dont have to do it. You dont have to sign up for it. That is your choice. Once you do make that choice, then they must commit to it. So I expected them to follow-through. Parents were also said to have created a positive achievement environment with an active lifestyle emphasis, a positive competitive environment, and through providing structure and setting limits. The achievement environment was also maintained by keeping success in perspective, through providing opportunities and a positive environment, and through parental involvement in the individuals activities. Relative to keeping success in perspective one athlete described her mothers response to household chores after she won gold medals as a teenager when she indicated, My mom was like, I dont care if you won X gold medals, you still have your chores and clean your room. Similarly, another athlete described his parents perspective by stating: I never felt like if I won a competition they were overly excited. They were like, that was good. You know, they said that even when I didnt perform wellI knew that they were proud of me but I think I knew they were proud of me whether I won or lost. Finally, the characteristics of the parents, including good communication skills, lack of communication skills, good parental balance of one another, overall parenting style, and a sense of being optimistic/ positive, were modes all cited as having had an impact on the development of the successful individuals psychological characteristics.

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In addition to examining specific actions and situations that athletes, parents/ siblings/ significant others, and coaches felt impacted each athletes development, study participants were asked to describe the general actions of parents and the overall family environment that characterized the three phases of the athletes careers. Specifically, these parental practices were examined relative to Blooms (1985) three elite athlete career phases, with the age of onset and length of each phase being self-determined by each participant. This section of the interview, then, helped create a more specific picture of the family and parental practices each athlete experienced that went beyond the previous modes of parental influence results. As with other sections of data analysis in this project, the parenting actions and family environment raw themes were organized into tags, the tags were organized in to higher order categories, and finally higher order categories were organized into umbrella groups using a three person consensus procedure. Table 9 provides an overview of the higher order categories regarding parental actions (e.g., being involved in childs activity, reinforcing/ respecting the coach), and the umbrella groups (e.g., family sport environment, parental styles and characteristics) that the higher order categories coalesced into as well as the number of interview participants (n = 30) who made statements classified within each area. The purpose of this section is to further explore each umbrella group and the higher order categories within each as well as to introduce the tags and subsequent raw themes that made up each. Comparisons across Blooms career phases will also be made. Lastly, emphasis will be placed on tags and raw themes that were most prevalent within each higher order category and umbrella group.

Olympic Talent Development Table 9. Total number of athletes, parents/ significant others/ siblings, and coaches (n=30) citing parenting characteristic umbrella groups and higher order categories during the early, middle, and elite year contexts Umbrella Groups and Present in Early Middle Elite all three Higher Order Categories Family Sport Environment Active lifestyle 7 5 2 11 Involved in childs activities 21 20 19 10 Not at all athletic ---3 Provided positive environment and 10 6 -1 opportunities Reinforced coach/ respected coach 2 5 4 2 Understood sport 7 4 1 3 General Influence General influence 2 ---General Parenting Style and Characteristics Focused on family 5 5 -3 Had can do attitude 3 2 -2 Parents balance each other 3 1 2 2 Parenting style 13 6 -7 Religious upbringing --1 4 Treated all kids the same 4 4 -2 Parents were optimistic/ positive 3 1 -2 Goals Balance 1 -1 -Focus on be happy 2 1 -2 Focus on development 2 2 1 -Focus on development and fun 2 2 -1 Focus on winning 4 2 Focus on winning and fun 1 1 --Focus on winning, development, and fun 2 ---Focus on/ emphasized fun 7 3 1 -Got athlete involved 11 3 -2 Larger Family Issues Financial issues 10 3 -1 High family interaction 1 ---Intelligent family ---1 Nature of family -2 -4 Motivation Challenged 1 2 --Competition atmosphere 1 --2 Encouraged 5 3 2 2 Positive push 2 3 1 2 Pushed hard 2 1 1 1 Used motivational techniques 2 1 -1

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Olympic Talent Development Table 9 continued. Total number of athletes, parents/ significant others/ siblings, and coaches (n=30) citing parenting characteristic umbrella groups and higher order categories during the early, middle, and elite year contexts Umbrella Groups and Present in Early Middle Elite all three Higher Order Categories Parent-Athlete Relationship Confidence in athlete 2 3 1 1 Didnt hide adoption 1 ---Good communication patterns 1 1 1 1 Good parent-athlete relationship -7 1 2 Individualized/ met psychological needs 2 3 2 -Provided structure/ set limits 2 2 1 -Special focus on child -1 --Understood athlete 1 1 1 1 Provided Support No pressure 13 5 -7 Support 9 9 11 10 Unconditional love and support 3 1 4 2 Negative Destructive family environment 2 1 --Destructive parenting practices 2 ---Lack of communication 2 ---Non-optimal family environment --1 1 Not involved in childs activities ---3 Wasnt able to provide environment or 1 ---opportunities No academic/ not enough academic support No academic/ not enough academic ---2 support Taught Directly taught 4 3 -2 Emphasized expectations and standards 14 8 1 12 Emphasized hard work and discipline 5 3 -5 Expectations of follow-through 2 1 -4 Exposure to achievers 1 1 -2 Feedback/ critique 6 5 3 -Fostered/ nurtured/ instilled 2 --2 Kept success in perspective 6 4 3 3 Mentored 4 8 1 -Modeled 5 2 -11 Family Sport Environment

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The umbrella group family sport environment was comprised of six different higher order categories that described ways parents structured a sport and fitness focus in the home while the athlete was growing up. Higher order categories included an active lifestyle, being involved in the child-athletes activities, providing a positive environment and opportunities within sport, reinforcing/ respecting the coach, and understanding the sport. Additionally, the

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higher order category parents not being athletic was placed in this tag as a component of the nature of the environment of these elite athletes. The higher order category having or leading an active lifestyle was comprised of the following tags: one or both parents being athletic/ physically active, an athletic family, a family sport environment (went to events, talked about sport), parents were sport instructors, and parental concerns over involvement. Comments and statements (raw themes) placed within the tags in this higher order category included my parents were recreational athletes and sport was a way of life in that family. Overall, seven participants (out of 30) indicated that the athlete was exposed to an active lifestyle during the early phase of his or her career. Five participants indicated that the athlete experienced this category during his or her middle years, and it was reported by only two individuals that an athlete experienced this during his or her elite years. Overall, eleven individuals indicated that the athletes experienced this category across all three phases of his or her career rather than in just one of the career phases. Parental involvement in their child-athletes activities was the largest of all of the higher order categories within the family sport environment umbrella group and across all the categories. This category was cited by 21 participants during the early years, 20 in the middle years, 19 in the elite years, and by 10 individuals as being a part of the athletes entire career. The higher order category of parental involvement in the child-athletes activities was comprised of 16 tags. Parental involvement included activities such as coaching, being consistently involved across time, decreasing involvement as the athlete got older, exposing the athlete to his or her sport, sticking up for the athletes rights with coaches and sports administrators, helping the athlete with logistics (e.g., coordinating schedules) and equipment (e.g., cleaning, preparing, putting on), knowing when to let go and allow the athlete to progress to the next level, providing transportation, attending competition and practice, and working within the sports organization. Additionally, parental involvement included parents who participated with the athlete in his or her sport and those who trained with the athlete. A general involvement raw theme was also a part of this higher order mode. General comments about parental involvement included my father was very actively involved in my sport and it [my sport] was kind of like a big family effort. Furthermore, the tag of a parent having no background in the sport in which the athlete participated was included in the higher order category of parental involvement, indicating little involvement on the part of the parent. It is important to note that the lack of a background in the athletes sport was not seen as being detrimental to the athletes development but was merely stated in response to questions about parental involvement. Several of the tags in the involved in the childs activities higher order category directly indicated or directly demonstrated trends in frequency. Two of the raw themes mentioned above, consistent involvement across time and decreasing involvement as the athlete got older, indicated the different approaches some parents took towards their childathletes athletic endeavors. Two individuals cited the tag of consistent parental involvement in middle years and one cited consistent parental involvement in the elite years in relation to earlier periods. Tags that also showed relative consistency over time included went to games and competitions (five early, five middle, 11 elite, and five general) and fought for athletes rights (two early, four middle, and three elite).

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While some individuals felt parental involvement remained the same over time, the majority indicated a decreasing involvement on the part of the parents. The tag decreasing involvement over time had seven citations in the middle years, ten citations in the elite years, and was cited by one individual as a general trend across all three developmental time periods. These findings were supported by the trends seen in other tags in the parental involvement higher order category. For example, provided transportation was cited by 13 individuals during the early years, 10 in the middle years, and by no one during the athletes elite years. Attending practice showed a similar trend of five individual references in the early years, four in the middle years, and only one in the elite years. Coaching and working with the sport organization also showed similar patterns. The higher order category of parents being not at all athletic was made up of a single tag of the same name. Three individuals indicated that they felt an athletes parent was not at all athletic. Interestingly, in each instance when lack of parental athleticism was cited, only one parent from the parental pair was listed as being not athletic. It is important to note that this characteristic was ascribed as neither a negative or positive connotation in this context. It was merely a statement regarding the parents own athletic involvement during the athletes development. Parents providing a positive environment and opportunities within sport was cited by 10 individuals during the early years, six in the middle years, and by one individual as a general statement across all time periods. The tags that comprised this higher order category included parental focus on a safe environment, letting the athlete try new things, modifying chores to allow the athlete time to pursue his or her sport, monitoring coaches and getting the best coaches, and providing a path or the opportunity to participate in the sport of the athletes choice. One parent described how he tried to ensure a safe training environment for his childathlete by saying, I always stayed at practice and watched so that he was okay and that no one made him do anything. Sometimes coaches can get a little abusive with the children by making them do things they are not capable of and making them do extra exercises as punishment and things like that. Furthermore, there was also a general tag in this higher order category concerning how parents generally provided a positive environment and positive opportunities. One parent summed up how he and his spouse provided a positive environment and positive opportunities for their child-athlete by saying all we can do and all we did do as parents was provide a path, however a very good path. We worked at it hard. Reinforcing the coach and respecting the coach made up another higher order category within the family sport environment umbrella group and was mentioned twice by individuals in the early years, five times in the middle years, four times in the elite years, and by two individuals in reference to all three phases. Tags in this category included coach collaboration, consistent with coach on values and viewpoints, encouraged coach not to quit coaching, let the coach do his or her job, and a sense of mutual trust, respect and support. There was also a tag in this category, coach conflict, which described a non-confrontational disagreement with coaching style between a parent and coach. This was ascribed as neither a

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The final higher order category in the family sport environment umbrella group was a parental understanding of sport. This category was cited by seven individuals in the early years, four in the middle years, one in the elite years, and by three individuals as having been a part of the athletes environment across all three time periods. The tags that made up the parental understanding of sport included preparing athletes to lose and handle losing as a part of sport involvement, knowing enough about the sport to recognize talent, understanding the medical needs of athletes, and understanding the training needs and demands of the sport. General Influence The general influence higher order category was cited by two individuals during the early years. General influence encompassed the idea that parents didn't do any one thing specifically to impact the development of their young son or daughter. Instead, through the parents lifestyle, values, and personality they provided a general influence on the developmental environment that the athlete experienced. General Parenting Style and Characteristics The umbrella group of general parenting style and characteristics was comprised of seven different higher order categories. These categories in this group centered on ways in which parents structured the family environment both intentionally and unintentionally, ways parents worked together in raising their family as well as personality characteristics of the parents. They included focused on family, having a can do attitude, parents balancing each other, overall parenting style, a religious upbringing, treated all family members the same, and being optimistic and positive. The first higher order category in this category, focused on family, was cited by five interview participants in the early years, five in the middle years, and by three as occurring across all three development phases. Being committed to the child-athlete, focusing attention equally on all children in the family, emphasizing family above all other activities, and pulling the family together in a crisis were the raw themes that comprised this higher order category. The major tenant of this higher order category is reflected in the comment by one coach who indicated that the athletes parents lives centered on their kids. The importance of family was also seen in statements by two different parents who indicated that while they supported their child-athletes endeavors, they werent always able to attend competitions because there were other children in the family who also required attention. The higher order category of have a can do attitude was made up of a singular raw theme of the same name. This theme encompassed the idea that the parents fostered a you can do anything attitude within the family environment and in their children. One coach said the athletes parents had a real can do attitude, while a parent stated that she emphasized the importance of a can do attitude because she felt failure is when you constantly have this I cant attitude those are failure words that come from your mouth and you dont need to say them. Three interview participants cited this theme in the early phase, two cited it in the middle years, and two cited it as being present across all three phases of the athletes career.

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A sense of balance between parenting styles and personalities and a division of the parenting labor were the two tags that comprised the parents balance each other higher order category in this category. For example, one athletes mother was laid back and mellow in her approach to the child-athletes participation, while the father was more involved and vocal about times and technique, thus providing the child-athlete with a balance between a highly involved parent and an unconditionally supportive parent. Three individuals cited this higher order category in the early years, one cited it in the middle years, two cited it in the elite years, and two individuals indicated that this theme was present across all three time periods. The higher order category of parenting style within the general parenting styles and characteristics category included 12 tags. These tags were a blend of discipline and encouragement between the two parents, both parents having strong personalities, one parent being the primary breadwinner and often absent, parental non-belief in counseling as a problem solving tool, parents not being critical of teammates, being a disciplinarian, recognizing and handling sibling rivalry, making sacrifices as parents for the sake of the children, being non-confrontational, nurturing, one parent dominating, and having a positive parental outlook. The higher order category of parenting style was cited 13 times during the early career phase, six times during the middle years, and seven times by individuals interviewed as occurring overall across the three career phases. Within the general parenting styles and characteristics category, the two most frequently cited tags were parental discipline and parental sacrifices. Parents were cited as making time, financial, and personal activity sacrifices in order to foster and enhance their athletes participation in his or her sport. This tag was cited by three individuals in the early years, two in the middle years, and by one individual as having occurred across the time periods. The tag parental discipline was comprised of comments regarding a style of discipline that reflected a strong desire to install good values and to provide a safe upbringing for the child-athlete. Individuals cited parents as being strict and serious about discipline, being old school disciplinarians, and having provided tough love. This tag was cited by four individuals during the early years, one in the middle years, and by two individuals as having been themes across the three time periods of the athletes development. Teaching and emphasizing religion in the home/ family environment were the tags that coalesced together and were combined to create the religious upbringing category. This higher order category was cited by two individuals during the elite years and by three individuals as having occurred across all three phases of the athletes development. The higher order categories of treating all members of the family the same and being generally optimistic and positive were both, respectively, comprised of single tags of the same name. Parents treated all members of the family the same was cited by four individuals during the early years, by four individuals in the middle years, and by two individuals as having occurred throughout the athletes career. Parents were said to treat everyone in the family the same by giving all the children equal time, by being fair to all, and by striving to provide all the children with equal opportunities. The final higher order category in the parenting style and characteristics category, one or both parents being optimistic and positive,

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was cited by three individuals during the early years, by one person in the middle years, and by two individuals as having occurred across all three career phases. Goals The organizational category of goals was comprised of nine higher order categories detailing goal setting and goal use by parents with their child-athlete and within their own lives. Higher order categories of parental goal setting included goal balance, a goal focus on being happy, a focus on development, a focus on development and fun, a focus on winning, a focus on winning and fun, a focus on winning, fun and development, a focus and emphasis on fun, and getting the athlete involved in the athletes sport. The following five higher order categories in the goal category were comprised of singular tags of the same name. A goal focus on be happy was cited by two individuals in the early years, one in the middle years, and by two individuals as having occurred over the course of all three phases. One athlete indicated that his mothers primary focus in both the early and middle years was whether or not I was happy while an athletes coach pointed out that the athletes parents wanted her to be happy. A focus on development and fun was cited by two individuals each in the early and middle phases, and by one individual as having spanned all three phases. These parents were concerned with both athlete enjoyment of his or her sport experience as well as with his or her development of the skills necessary for the sport. Four individuals indicated that parents had a focus on winning in the early years and two indicated that this was the focus during the athletes middle years. The focus on winning and fun was cited by one individual in the early and one in the middle years, and the focus on winning, fun and development was cited by two individuals in the early years. The higher order category of parents helping to provide their athlete with a sense of goal balance was cited by one individual as have occurred during the early years and by one individual as having happened during the elite years. The tags that combine to make up the goal balance higher order category were parents helping to provide the athlete with a sense of balance between discipline and fun in training and parents wanting their athlete to have a balance between life and sport. The focus on development higher order category was comprised of two tags and had two individual citations in the early years, two in the middle years, and one in the elite years. The first tag was a focus on the athletes development as a person and the second tag was a focus on the individuals development as an athlete. The higher order category in the goal category emphasized and focused on fun was comprised of three tags. These themes included making it fun, emphasizing fun, and putting things in perspective. Seven interview participants indicated this higher order category during the early years, three in the middle years, and one cited it in the elite years. Parents were cited as emphasizing the importance of fun and enjoying the activity while other parents, particularly those who coached, were cited as having made the practices fun for the childathlete. The final higher order category in the goal category was reasons parents got their child-athlete involved in his or her sport. This higher order category was made up of five tags

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and was cited by 11 individuals in the early years, by three in the middle years, and by two as having occurred across all three phases. The tags within this higher order category were having got the athlete involved because he or she showed or expressed an interest, because the parents wanted the athlete to improve physical coordination (e.g., didnt want child to be uncoordinated), to keep the athlete busy (e.g., summer activity when school was out, after school activity), and so the athlete could learn something. There was also a general got the athlete involved tag that covered statements like her mom got her started and my parents enrolled me in lots of activities. Larger Family Issues Larger family issues was an umbrella category made up of family financial issues, nature of the family structure, high interactions within the family, and family intellect higher order categories (intelligent families). The latter two categories were comprised of singular tags of the same name. High family interactions was cited just once, by an individual in the early years. The parent who cited this stated, We spent a lot more time with our children [than most families do], we ate dinner together every night, we ate breakfast together, we worked together of course [family business], we had our hobby and our sport together, I think he spent a lot more time with the family than a lot of young people do now. Having a smart intelligent family was also only cited once, by an individual as a general characteristic that occurred across the course of the athletes career. Financial issues within the family were cited by ten individuals during the athletes early years, by three individuals in the middle years, and by one individual as having been present across all three phases. This higher order category was comprised of a sense of financial strain in the family, parents being financially supportive of their athlete, no financial hardships in the family, and, in one case, parents trying to talk an athlete out of playing a specific position because of the relatively high cost of the position the athlete wanted to play on the team. In reference to the tag a financial strain in the household, one individual said money was tight in the family. In some cases the individuals indicated that the athlete was aware of the financial struggles in the family while other individuals indicated that the athlete was not aware of the issue in the family. Moreover, while money was tight in some families, it was not indicated to have had a negative impact on the athletes development or basic family needs by any of the interview participants who mentioned it. Six tags were combined to create the nature of the family higher order category under the larger family issues umbrella category. This higher order category was cited by two individuals during the middle years and by four individuals as having happened across all three phases of the athletes career. Tags within this higher order category included being a part of a large family kept the athlete humble, the nature of being a part of the family kept the athlete busy (e.g., it was hectic), the family provided an only child atmosphere (e.g., being the youngest in the family when the older siblings left home), the family was strong and close,

Olympic Talent Development the family was generally terrific, and the family was overall well-rounded (e.g., down to Earth good people). Motivation

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The parenting motivational category was comprised of six higher order categories that focused on practices parents exhibited to help their child-athlete build and maintain his or her motivation to participate and achieve. Motivational category higher order categories including parental challenge, provided a competition atmosphere, encouraged, provided a positive push, pushed the athlete hard, and used motivational techniques with the athlete. The providing motivational challenge higher order category was comprised of a singular tag of the same name. The competitive atmosphere came from all family members having a competitive nature in sports, parents having been competitive themselves as athletes, and one parent who continued to participate in competitive athletics during his young athletes developmental years. One individual cited this higher order category in the early years and two cited it during the middle years. Providing a competitive atmosphere was also comprised of a singular tag of the same name with one individual citing this during the early years and two individuals citing this across the course of all three career phases. The parental encouragement higher order category was noted by five individuals in the early years, three individuals in the middle years, two individuals in the elite years, and two individuals as being a general theme across the three phases. Parental encouragement was comprised of four different tags. The majority of citations were in the general encouragement tag. The citations in this category included things such as parent provided positive reinforcement and encouragement to their athlete. For example, one interview participant indicated that the athletes parent would stick his nose in before a race and say have a good one. Other tags include encouragement regarding the athletes college decisions, encouragement to participate, and vocal encouragement at competitions. The higher order category of positive motivational push in the motivational category was comprised of two tags optimal push from parents and parental nudging. Parental nudging was viewed as a positive no stress push from parents, such as when one athlete was feeling unmotivated to train his parents would say, Lets just drive over to practice and get your equipment on, knowing that once he was there his motivation to train would return. Optimal push from parents was seen as the right balance between parental pressure to participate, encouragement, and unconditional support. Overall, positive motivational push was cited by two individuals in the early years, three individuals in the middle years, one individual in the elite years, and two individuals as having been present across all three phases. Parents pushing their child-athlete hard was comprised of two tags, both a nondestructive and destructive push or motivation. The destructive type of parental push was cited by one individual in the early years and by one in the elite years. This destructive push was described by one individual as an on his [the athletes] back approach. The nondestructive hard push tag was cited by one individual each in the early years, middle years, and across the overall three time phase span. This hard parental push was seen as being both necessary given the circumstances and positive for the athlete in question. For example, one

Olympic Talent Development individual stated that parent provided the necessary push when the athlete was being lazy during his teenage years.

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The final motivational higher order category, the use of motivational techniques, was cited by two individuals in the early years, one in the middle years, and by one individual as spanning across the three phases. This higher order category was comprised of three tags, parents letting athletes intrinsic motivation grow, setting goals to enhance motivation, and the telling of motivational stories. One parent stated she purposely told stories of hardships endured, the perseverance it took, and the extraordinary motivation of older generation family members to her children to help reinforce their motivational levels. Parent-Athlete Relationship The parent-athlete relationship category included eight higher order categories that described and detailed the relationship between the child-athlete and his or her parents within and across the three defined time periods, the early, the middle, and elite years. The higher order categories included parents having confidence in the athlete, not hiding important things from the athlete, having good communication patterns with the athlete, a good general parentathlete relationship, parents individualizing their approach to meet the psychological needs of the athlete, parents providing structure and setting limits for the athlete, parents putting a special focus on the athlete, and a general understanding of the athlete. Several of the higher order categories in this category were comprised of single item tags of the same name. A parent not hiding important things from the athlete was cited by one individual during the early years. This individual indicated that the athletes parents were careful to tell her the truth about an important family issue rather than hide it or attempt to shelter the athlete. A parent placing special focus on the child-athlete was cited by one individual during the middle years. In this instance, a parent did indicate that special attention was given to the child-athlete due to the fact that he had begun competing at the national and international level. However, this parent also indicated that the athletes siblings were older and one was already out of the house making it possible for the child-athlete to receive this focused attention without damaging the parents relationship with the siblings. The third single tag making up a higher order category was a general understanding of the athlete and his or her style and needs by the parent and was cited by one individual in each of the time contexts, early, middle, elite, and across all three. Parental confidence in their athlete was cited by two interview participants in the early years, three in the middle years, one in the elite years, and by one individual as being present across all three time periods. Parental confidence was comprised of the confidence the parent had in their athletes abilities to train and compete as well as the trust and responsibility parents placed in their athlete as an expression of confidence. Belief in the athletes athletic abilities included a general belief that he or she could achieve his or her athletic goals as well as a belief that he or she would be able to recover fully after illness or injury. General confidence was placed in the athlete by his or her parents in regards to granting privileges associated with the athlete growing up and demonstrating greater maturity over time such as allowing her to be responsible for herself as stated by one coach and allowing me to drive myself to the tryouts for the junior national team when I was 16 and then commute back and forth to practice as cited by an athlete.

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Good parental communication habits were cited by one individual in each of the three time periods and by one individual as having occurred across all three periods. This higher order category was comprised of two themes including both good communication skills and making an effort to talk through problems with the athlete. Interestingly, none of the athletes interviewed cited the higher order category of good parental communication. These citations came from only parental and coaching sources. A good parent-athlete relationship was indicated by seven individuals in the middle years, one individual in the elite years, and by two individuals as having occurred across the three time periods. This higher order category was made up of the tags of being motherly, a close and trusting parent-athlete relationship, and parental concerns when the athlete struggled or had trouble. Also within this higher order category were the tags of a typical teenagerparent relationship including the typical teenage-parent clashes and a general typical parentteenager relationship. It should be noted that neither of these themes were considered by interview participants to be negative within the context of the development of the athlete. Parental ability to individualize when dealing with their child-athlete and being able to meet his or her needs was comprised of the tags being able to individualize and meeting needs - knowing when to say the right thing. The parental ability to individualize higher order category was cited by two individuals in the early years, three in the middle years, and two in the elite years. Parents demonstrated the ability to individualize in a variety of ways. One athlete noted that her parents would never discuss her sport performance right after the match or in the car on the way home when she was frustrated, but that they would wait until a couple of weeks later to discuss it. A parent indicated that he individualized dealing with his child-athlete by shielding her from negative press because he knew the impact that it would have on her. The higher order category of parental setting of limits and creating structure for the athlete was cited by two individuals each in the early and middle years. It was also cited by one individual as having occurred in the elite years. Tags of parental actions that fell into this higher order category included making decisions for the athlete (e.g., not allowing the athlete to travel to Europe with a national team because of the high school educational disruption it would cause), monitoring the athletes peer group (e.g., keeping a close eye on who their child-athlete socialized with), and setting deadlines for the athlete. In the case of setting deadlines, one athlete indicated that his parents set a timeline for his attempt at making an elite squad by stating, If you dont make the team at Christmas, then youre going back to University. Provided Support Parents provided support to their child-athletes in a variety of ways. The provided support umbrella category was comprised of three higher order categories that explored the different ways in which parents supported their child-athletes. The higher order categories of support provided included no pressure support, general support, and unconditional love and support. The no pressure higher order category was cited by 13 individuals in the early years. In the middle years five individuals cited this higher order category, and six individuals

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indicated this higher order category across the three time periods. This higher order category was comprised of the tags parents allowing their athlete to make his or her own choices and parents putting no pressure on their athlete regarding his or her participation or the event outcome. Citations within the tag of allowing the athlete to make his or her own choices centered on allowing the athlete to make decisions regarding his or her participation or discontinuing participation in sport. Several individuals indicated that parents were careful to allow their athlete to decide for him or herself whether or not to continue participation; however, they also noted that these parents did expect the athlete to give it his or her best effort if he or she decided to remain in the activity. The tag of no pressure included precautions by parents not to become the stereotypical over involved stage parent and one parent indicating that she tried to give advice but no pressure when talking with her childathlete. The general support higher order category under the support category umbrella was comprised of eight tags. These tags were consistent support, support that was general in nature, support that persisted during illness and injury, low key support, support that showed pride, strong support, support that persisted even in the event of a loss, and support of decisions the athlete made. Overall, nine individuals cited the general support higher order category during the early years, nine cited this higher order category during the middle years, eleven cited this higher order category in the elite years, and ten individuals cited this higher order category across all three time periods. Many of the citations regarding general support included not only parental support but the support of siblings and of the extended family (e.g., grandparents) as well. One athlete indicated that she had a support network while another indicated that he was backed by family support and encouragement. Pride was also a strong component within the support category with one parent indicating that he felt he [the athlete] was a winner every time he competed and another indicating that she was proud of everything her child-athlete had accomplished both in and out of sport. A related but broader higher order category of support under the support category umbrella was unconditional love and support. This higher order category was comprised of a tag of the same name and was cited by three individuals in the early years, one in the middle years, and four in the elite years. This support was carefully classified by the individuals citing it as being unconditional, nonjudgmental, and unwavering no matter how the athlete did in competition or training. Negative Factors The umbrella category negative factors was made up of six higher order categories that were expressed by the interview participants as being negative factors that occurred within the athletes environment during his or her developmental phases. These higher order categories included a destructive family environment, destructive parenting practices, lack of communication, a divorce, parental non-involvement in the child-athletes life and activities, and not providing / not being able to provide the sport environment or opportunities. The higher order categories divorced, parental non-involvement in the athletes activities, and not providing / being able to provide the sport environment or opportunities were each made up of a single tag of the same name. Divorce was cited by two individuals, one in the elite years and one across all three time phases. In both cases the circumstances of

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the parental relationship (or lack of one) was cited as being more harmful than the actual divorce itself. Parental non-involvement in the athletes activities was cited by three individuals as occurring across all time periods. The lack of involvement by the parents in these cases went beyond just the athletes athletic endeavors and also included a lack of parental involvement in the child-athletes life in general. Parents not being able to provide the sport environment or opportunities was cited by only one individual in the early years of the athletes career. This was cited by a parent who felt she didnt have the financial resources necessary to provide her child-athlete with the opportunities that she would have liked to provide. The destructive family environment higher order category within the negative category umbrella was made up of two different tags, alcoholism and a destructive parent to parent (spousal) relationship (where no divorce occurred). The destructive family environment higher order category was cited by two individuals during the early years and by one in the middle years. The higher order category of destructive parenting practice was comprised of four different tags. These tags include a parent not knowing how to love or show love to the childathlete, a parent only taking selective interest in the child-athlete (e.g., only when the childathlete was successful in sport), a parent or parents being overly critical of the child-athletes effort, and a parent having physically reprimanded the athlete once. While with the last tag it is important to note that the individual indicated that this was an isolated incident, not an ongoing case of physical abuse, this one incident was seen as having a large negative impact on the child-athletes development. Moreover, it should be noted that only two individuals cited the higher order category of destructive parenting practices and both citations were made during the early years of the athletes development. Within the lack of communication higher order category, the tags were an angry style of communication and being a person of few words. This higher order category had two individuals cite it, both occurring during the early time period of the athletes development. Taught The overall umbrella category of parents having taught different things to their childathlete during his or her development was comprised of 10 different higher order categories. The higher order categories of teaching included directly teaching, emphasizing expectations and standards, emphasizing hard work and discipline, having expectations of follow-through, exposing the athlete to achievers, providing positive feedback and critique, fostering/ nurturing/ instilling skills and attitudes, helping athletes keep success in perspective, mentoring, and modeling. The direct teaching higher order category was cited by four individuals in the early years, three in the middle years, and by two individuals as having occurred across all three time periods. Nine tags made up this higher order category. The tags included parents directly taught their child-athlete that hard work equals success, loyalty, how to make good decisions, not to put monetary value on things, perseverance, personal responsibility, how to respect authority, to be independent, and they taught them to dream.

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Within this umbrella category, parents also emphasized expectations and standards with their child-athlete. This higher order category was the largest within the taught umbrella category and the second largest higher order category over all the categories. Fourteen interview subjects cited this higher order category during the early years, eight in the middle years, one in the elite years, and twelve individuals cited this higher order category as having occurred across all three time periods. Thirteen different tags were found to coalesce together to create the emphasized expectations and standards higher order category. Parents were cited as having emphasized the following expectations and standards: family responsibilities (e.g., chores), dealing with adversity (e.g., losing, injury), putting forth a high effort, maintaining high standards as set by the parents, displaying good sportspersonship, maintaining good social values and being a well rounded person, having a good sense of personal responsibility, participating to his or her full ability, and being prepared and ready for training and competition. Additionally, within this higher order category were the tags of parents having high expectations without placing pressure on the athlete, parents having or placing no sport specific expectations on their child-athlete, and having no gender specific expectations about what their child could or could not do (e.g., didnt limit choice of athletic activities due to gender), and having academic expectations and standards (e.g., good grades, go to college). The largest tags within the emphasized expectations and standards were those regarding academics, maintaining high standards as set by the parents, displaying good sportspersonship, maintaining good social values, and being a well rounded person. Ways in which parents emphasized expectations and standards regarding academics ranged from parents stressing the importance of academics to family rules regarding good grades before extracurricular activities including sport participation. One athlete stated that her involvement in her sport and other hobbies was fine according to her parents, provided she had time and her grades were fine. The importance parents placed on education was noted by one coach who said, No question about it, they were very, very interested in his educationThey were both very successful people and education was the key in what they were doing. Parents stressed sportspersonship by holding me to what was right according to one athlete. One coach indicated that the athletes parents would not tolerate poor sportspersonship. Parents also stressed the importance of being a well-rounded person beyond being an athlete. One parent indicated that she insisted on social politeness with all of her children because your actions and appearance label you, and another parent indicated that the family was founded on strong values and supported those values. Within the umbrella category of taught, parents also displayed behaviors classified within the higher order category of emphasizing hard work and discipline. Five interview participants stated that parents emphasized hard work and discipline during the early years, three cited this during the middle years, and five cited it as an ongoing higher order category throughout the three time periods. Four tags comprised the higher order category of emphasizing hard work and discipline. These tags were emphasizing and reinforcing hard work and discipline, having parental expectations of working hard and being disciplined, the idea that hard work will pay off, and any outcome was okay as long as the athlete tried his or her best. Parents instilled the hard work pays off attitude by pointing out that training led to success and one coach stated that the parents drove one thing home to the athlete, whether a win or a lossworking through the problem and working harder would be a solution to the problem.

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The expectations of follow-through higher order category was made up of two tags, the importance of sticking with a commitment and expectations of following through after experiencing an adversity. This higher order category was cited by two individuals in the early years, one in the middle years, and by four individuals as having occurred across all three time periods. The stick with the commitment tag was often cited in conjunction with the earlier higher order category that reflected parents allowing their child-athlete to make decisions regarding participation in a particular activity. Interview participants indicated that while parents allowed the child-athlete to choose his or her activities, they also stressed that once the athlete made a commitment he or she had to stick with it until the end of the season. The higher order category of exposure to achievers encompassed the tags of the athletes exposure to the parents as achievers as well as parents providing athletes exposure to college level athletes. One individual citation was made within each of the three developmental time periods, early, middle and elite years. Additionally, one individual cited exposure to achievers occurred across all three periods. The higher order category of feedback and critique involved tags that pointed to positive and constructive ways parents conveyed information about skill, effort, and performance to their athlete. Three tags were combined to create this higher order category. Parents analyzing the sport with the athlete, parents giving advice to the athlete, and parents giving sincere advice were all combined to create the feedback / critique higher order category under the taught umbrella category. Overall, this higher order category was cited by six individuals in the early years, five in the middle years, and three in the elite years of athlete development. One father was cited as helping the athlete analyze her performance. The individual making the citation noted that this analysis was never done in a negative way. Other interview participants indicated that the family engaged in analysis of the techniques and performances of elite people in the athletes sport. Two individuals indicated that parents fostered, nurtured, and instilled important skills and values during the early years of athlete development, and two cited that parents did this across all three time periods. Four tags that made up this higher order category described the values and skills that parents fostered, nurtured, and instilled. These included a never let your guard down attitude, an understanding of the mental importance of the game, a love of learning, and the attitude that success makes you feel good. Another higher order category under the taught category umbrella was keep success in perspective. Five individuals indicated that parents taught this during the early years, four cited this during the middle years, three cited it during the elite years, and three indicated that parents taught this across all three time periods. Tags that comprised the kept success in perspective higher order category were teaching the athlete that losing was not a big deal, teaching the athlete not to boast, not emphasizing winning in the home and instead emphasizing humility, and having the athlete maintain normal chores despite achieving extraordinary athletic success. Interview participants also indicated that parents were mentors for important skills and attitudes with their young child-athletes. Four tags were combined to create the mentor higher order category within the taught umbrella category. Parents mentored their child-athlete by helping he or she separate the team from his or her individual identity, helping him or her

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with personal / athletic identity issues, helping him or her with sports related decisions, and helping their child-athlete internalize his or her drive to succeed. Four interview participants indicated that parents were mentors during the early years, eight indicated parents mentored in the middle years, and one indicated that a parent was a mentor to their child-athlete in the elite years. The final higher order category within the taught umbrella category was modeled. This higher order category was made up of seven ways or tags describing how parents were role models for their child-athlete. Parents were cited as modeling competitiveness, goal setting, hard work, organization, the use of physical activity to vent stress, and values. Additionally, interview participants indicated that parents were general overall positive role models to this group of athletes. Five individuals indicated that parents were role models in their early years of development. Two cited parent modeling during the athletes middle years. Overall, eleven individuals indicated that parents were role models across all three phases of athlete development. Interestingly, the majority of the citations within this higher order category came from the athletes themselves as they reflected back on their development over the years. They indicated that one or both of their parents modeled values such as hard work, being tough (e.g., handling lifes trials well), being motivated, using goals setting and prioritization, dedication, and commitment. Coaching Practices Coaching Overview Along with parents, coaches were found to play an important role in athletes lives and in their psychological development. In an attempt to explore this impact more thoroughly, athletes, parents/ siblings/ significant others, and coaches were asked to describe the general actions of coaches that the athletes experienced during and across the three different phases of their career. This section of the interview helped create a picture of the coaches and coaching environment that each athlete experienced across the Bloom (1985) phases. It is important to note, however, that athletes had multiple coaches over their careers, so the actions identified between and across career phases do not necessarily refer to any one coach. Rather, they provide a general picture of coaching practices. Data for the coaching overview was analyzed and sorted in a manner identical to the procedure used for the parenting overview. Table 10 provides an overview of the higher order categories and the tags of coaching actions within each category as well as the number of interview participants (n=30) who made statements classified in each tag. These results are also compared across Blooms (1985) three elite athlete career phases. Tags and tags receiving the greatest number of citations by individuals will also be noted within the proper context.

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Table 10. Total number of athletes, parents/significant others/siblings, and coaches (n=30) citing coaching characteristic umbrella groups and higher order categories during the early, middle, and elite year contexts Umbrella Groups and Present in Early Middle Elite all three Higher Order Categories Coach-Athlete Relationship Coach/ athlete/ family relationship 2 10 23 -Confidence in athlete 4 7 11 -Coach respected and trusted by others 5 3 7 -Gave individual attention 1 3 --Good communication patterns --1 -Got athlete involved -1 --Involved in athletes activities 1 1 --Lack of communication --1 -Treated all athletes the same 3 -2 -Took interest in athlete 1 2 1 -Understood athlete/ individualized 5 14 15 -Coaching Style and Characteristics Coaching style and characteristics 12 21 18 1 Coaching motives -2 --Coaching staff balanced --2 -Elite coaching/ athletic status 1 9 9 -Sport and training knowledge 8 8 12 -General Influence General influence 3 1 2 -Goals Balance of performance and 1 1 3 -nonperformance objectives Focus on development 7 7 5 -Focus on development and fun 3 ---Focus on winning 1 8 2 -Focus on winning and development 1 ---Focus on winning and fun --1 -Focus on winning, development, and fun --1 -Focus on/ emphasized fun 4 5 3 1 Motivational Climate Challenged 1 2 2 -Competition atmosphere 1 ---Exposure to achievers -1 1 -Encouraged 3 3 1 -Positive push 1 1 --Provided positive environment and --1 -opportunities Pushed hard -1 1 -Traditional coaching weed out techniques -2 --Used motivational techniques 1 2 3 --

Olympic Talent Development Table 10 continued. Total number of athletes, parents/significant others/siblings, and coaches (n=30) citing coaching characteristic umbrella groups and higher order categories during the early, middle, and elite year contexts Umbrella Groups and Present in Early Middle Elite all three Higher Order Categories Support No pressure 1 -1 -Support 4 3 7 -Unconditional love and support 1 ---Taught Didnt teach psychological skills -1 1 -Directly taught -2 1 -Emphasized expectations and standards 1 7 8 -Emphasized hard work and discipline 3 9 4 -Feedback/ critique -6 8 -Fostered/ nurtured/ instilled --2 -Kept success in perspective 2 1 6 -Mentored 2 5 4 2 Modeled 1 2 1 -Taught psychological skills 3 6 7 -Other Athlete left home for coaching -7 --Parent/ sibling/ self-coached 2 3 3 Trained with opposite sex --1 -Coach-Athlete Relationship

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The umbrella category of the coach athlete relationship was comprised of 11 different higher order categories that described the nature of the coach-athlete relationship and coaching actions that impacted the coach athlete relationship. Higher order categories within the coach-athlete relationship category included the coach/ athlete/ athletes family relationship, the coach having confidence in the athlete, the coach being respected and trusted by others, coaches giving athletes individual attention, good coach communication patterns, coaches getting the athlete involved, being involved in the athletes activities, a lack of coach communication skills, treating all the athletes the same, taking an interest in the individual, and understanding and individualizing for each individual. Six of the 11 higher order categories within the coach-athlete relationship category were comprised of a singular tag of the same name. Coaches giving athletes individual attention was cited by one individual in the early time period and three in the middle time period. This higher order category indicated coaches paying individual attention not only to the athlete in question, but to all athletes on the team or in the program. Good coach communication patterns with athletes was cited by one individual during the elite phase while lack of communication skills by a coach (e.g., not communicating well with the athlete) was also cited by one individual during the elite phase of an athletes career. The higher order category of a coach being responsible or credited with getting the athlete involved in his or her sport during the early years was cited by one coach during the middle years. No parents or athletes cited the coach as being responsible for getting an athlete involved in his or her

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sport. Treating all athletes on the team the same was cited (e.g., equal and fair treatment for all) by three individuals during the early years of development and by two individuals during the elite years. The last higher order category comprised of a singular tag in this category was coach took interest in the athlete as an individual, which was cited by one individual in the early years, two individuals in the middle years, and one individual during the elite years. By taking interest in the athlete as an individual, these coaches were looking beyond the individuals identity as just an athlete and inquired and showed interest in his or her family, academics, and other achievements. The largest higher order categories in the coaching overview and in the coach athlete relationship umbrella category was the coach/ athlete/ family relationship. This higher order category was comprised of 19 tags and was cited by two individual in the early phase, 10 individuals in the middle years, and 23 individuals during the elite phase of development. The tags in this higher order category included both positive and negative aspects of the coach-athlete relationship. Positive aspects were coach trusted athlete, respected athlete, revered athlete (e.g., was in awe of his or her talent), helped the athlete beyond the typical duties associated with coaching (e.g., continued to help the athlete with his or her training years after the athlete had graduated to higher teams), listened to the athlete, the coach and athlete having a long experience together, and the importance of a good fit between coach and athlete. Within the coach-athlete relationship higher order category, the unique nature of different coaches, for example, between high school versus collegiate coach, was noted. For example, high school coaches were cited as being more authoritarian and more directive while higher level coaches (e.g., collegiate, Olympic development coach) were cited as working more in collaboration with athletes. It was also noted (as tags within this higher order category) that some coaches assumed a parental role when working with athletes while others worked more in collaboration with athletes. The tag of a coach assuming a parental role was the second largest tag within this higher order category. Coaches were said to be like a surrogate parent and to be like a surrogate parent. However, it should be pointed out that different athletes experienced high school and college athletics at different phases of their careers (e.g., for some, the elite phase began in high school while others were just entering the middle phase at that time). The largest tag within the coach-athlete relationship higher order category and across all categories in the coaching overview was the good coach-athlete relationship/ good fit. This tag describes a good fit between the athletes personality, needs, and style and that of the coach with whom he or she worked. This tag was cited seven times in the middle years and 15 times during the elite years. All individuals indicated that this fit between the coach and athlete was a critical factor in their successful relationship. It is interesting to note that this did not appear to be an issue of importance for any of the athletes during the early years, however this factor became increasingly important as the athlete passed through the stages of development. One coach indicated that he saw this relationship with his athletes as a friendship, and as a two way street, while another described it as an adult-adult relationship. Athletes also indicated the importance of this fit by saying things like, I had a good bond with my coach and my coach was a good friend.

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In regards to the family component of the coach-athlete relationship, there was a mutual coach-parent respect, a coach family friendship, and a coach parent collaboration. Interestingly, the specific relationship of the assistant coach and the athlete was noted twice to be better than the head coach to the athlete. Within the coach/ athlete/ family relationship higher order category, the importance of the athletes knowledge of the coachs trust and the athlete looking for coach approval were also noted. On the less positive side of the coach athlete relationship it was noted that some coaches didnt care about their athletes as people, and some had a generally poor relationship with the athletes (in most cases this included a majority of their athletes, not just the athlete being studied). There was also the tag of an improper coach athlete relationship as perceived by other athletes (e.g., favoritism, unethical intimate involvement). While these issues were evident, an inspection of Table 10 reveals that they did not occur frequently. Coaches confidence in the athlete was another higher order category within the coach-athlete relationship umbrella category. This higher order category was cited by four individuals in the early years, seven in the middle years, and 11 in the elite years. Confidence tags included coach believing in the athlete, coach looking for overlooked athletes with potential (which helped athletes confidence), making decisions to play athlete (which enhanced athletes confidence), and coaches working specifically to instill and increase confidence. Athletes indicated that their coaches helped their confidence by doing things such as putting inspirational notes in the athletes travel bag when the coach could not be present and pointing out the athletes potential in order to help the athlete see that the potential was attainable. The higher order category of coach being respected and trusted by others (e.g., the athlete, other athletes, parents) was comprised of five tags. These tags included a general belief in the coach, the coach being loved (liked) by all (including the athlete and other team members), a more specific affiliation by the athlete for the coach and the coachs family (e.g., a family friendship beyond the typical coach-athlete relationship), the athlete having respect for and trust in his or her coach, and an athlete feeling his or her coach was amazing. This higher order category was cited by five interview participants in the early years, three in the middle years, and seven in the elite years. The largest of the tags in this higher order category was the respect/ trust the athlete had in his or her coach. The majority of the citations in this tag came from parents/ significant other/ sibling and athlete interview participants. Athletes indicated this respect and trust by saying things like I believed in my coach and I had a great respect for my coach. Parents/ significant others/ siblings indicated that the coach was someone the athlete had a great respect for and was someone who was loved by all. Being involved in the athletes activities was a relatively small higher order category within the coach athlete relationship umbrella category and was made up of only two tags, providing transportation and always being present at practice. This higher order category was cited by two different individuals, one during the early years and one during the middle years of athlete development. The final higher order category within the coach-athlete relationship was the coach understanding the athlete and individualizing his or her training accordingly. This was the second largest higher order category within the coach-athlete relationship category made up

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of the tags coach gave individual attention, individualized coaching, knew how to calm the athlete down, understanding the athletes needs, meeting the athletes needs, relating well with the athlete, and trying to help the athlete find success. The higher order category of coach understanding the athlete and individualizing was mentioned frequently as it was cited by five individuals during the early years, 14 in the middle years, and by 15 interview participants in the elite. The largest tags in the coach understanding the athlete and individualizing his or her training accordingly higher order category were the individualized coaching, met athletes needs, related well to the athlete, and understood athletes needs. One athlete indicated that her coach recognized her talent and gave her special treatment while another indicated that for most of athletes on the team the coach stressed academics, but for him he stressed the sport because he knew the athlete was different and had a special talent that was not something he would always be able to do. In discussing how the coach was able to meet her child-athletes needs, one parent indicated that the coach worked within the athletes physical technique style and did not try to change him too much. Having worked together for an extended period of time was one of the reasons a coach cited for relating well with the athlete and being able to recognize when the athlete was struggling. Several athletes and parents indicated that coaches were able to understand the athletes needs because of the fact that they were good psychologically and were able to use psychological techniques in their coaching. Coach Style and Characteristics The umbrella group of coach style and characteristics was made up of five different higher order categories. Higher order categories within this group included sport and training knowledge, coachs elite status as a coach and/or as an athlete, a balanced coaching staff, the coaching motives, and coaching style and characteristics. These higher order categories explored how coaches approached coaching and what they were like as coaches. The largest higher order category in the coaching style and characteristics umbrella category as well as across all the umbrella categories was coach style and characteristics. This higher order category was made up of 45 different tags that included both positive and negative coach characteristics as well as specific and general statements regarding coach style and coach personality characteristics. Twelve interview participants referenced the coaching style and characteristics higher order category in the early years, 21 made citations in the middle years, 18 in the elite years, and one individual indicated this higher order category across all three time periods. Negative coach characteristics tags (as indicated by interview participants) in the coach style and characteristics higher order category included the coach giving the athlete a lot of bs resulting in a broken sense of trust (e.g., a coach making up excuses as to why an athlete didnt perform well, excuses that the athlete knew to be false), the coach having a big ego and being self-centered (e.g., more interested in their own best interests than the athletes), a general negative and/or bad attitude, yelling due to political pressures, showing favoritism among team members, having restricted time to coach due to not being a full time coach, and expressing a sexist viewpoint. It was also mentioned that some coaching styles were incompatible with athlete needs.

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Positive characteristic tags (as indicated by interview participants) in the coaching style and characteristics higher order category included having a balance between a strict and kind style, having an autocratic style, caring about the athletes, being dedicated and passionate as a coach, being a strict disciplinarian, enjoys working with hard workers, being enthusiastic as a coach, being gentle and nurturing, being a general good coach, being a nice/ good person, being organized, being self-aware, being positive, having a professional style, and not living through the athletes achievements. Interview participants also said the athletes coaches showed respect for the athletes, and were quiet, intense/ assertive, relaxed/ laid back, honest, successful (as people and as coaches), trustworthy, young (in age as a coach), and optimistic. Some interview participants also noted that some of the coaches athletes had during the course of his or her career were parents themselves, although in some cases they were not the athletes parent or didnt necessarily have a child-athlete on the same team. Tags in the coaching style and characteristics higher order category that indicated more specific coaching actions included coaches taking on a lot of responsibility with the athletes (e.g., one coach traveled to Europe with a large group of junior athletes and took on the role of both chaperone and coach), looking for teachable moments when coaching, having a policy not to work with parents when coaching high school level athletes, frowning on the actions of pushy parents, having a very hands on style when coaching (e.g., didnt work through assistant coaches), being fair with all athletes on the team, having a nurturing Grandpa like style, focusing on integrating new athletes into the team (e.g., making them feel welcome), and fitting into the assistant coaches role well (e.g., knowing their role within the team structure.). Additionally, these coaches were cited as having made time and, in some cases, monetary sacrifices as coaches and interview participants indicated that the good early years coaches were those who did not do anything to damage young athletes. Interview participants indicated that what the early year coaches did not do (e.g., yell, hurt the childathletes self-esteem) was just as, if not more, important than teaching skills and techniques of the sport at that age. Coaching motives and a balanced coaching staff were two smaller higher order categories under the larger coaching style and characteristics category umbrella. The coaching motives higher order category consisted of two tags, the individual coaching for fun and enjoyment and coaching because of the paycheck. Two interview participants cited this higher order category during the middle years of athlete development. The higher order category, a balanced coaching staff, was comprised of a single tag of the same name. This higher order category was cited by two individuals, one in the middle years and one in the elite years. These individuals indicated that there was a good balance of coach personalities and that there was good understanding of the different coaching position roles within the team. The higher order category of elite coaching and athletic status was comprised of tags that addressed the issues of coach experience and qualifications in their particular sport. This higher order category was heavily cited, with one individual citing in the early years, nine in the middle years, and nine in the elite years. The tags in this higher order category included general coach credibility, being a former Olympian or medallist, having overcome adversity either as a coach or an athlete themselves, and having been a good/ elite athlete before becoming a coach. Additionally, this higher order category included the tag of having no

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reputation as a coach prior to working with the athlete during his or her career. However, the vast majority of the citations in this higher order category involved coach credibility and elite status. The coach having been a good/ elite athlete or having been an Olympian or Olympic medallist was cited by one individual in the early years, eight in the middle years, and eight in the elite years. Interview participants indicated that the elite status and achievements of the coach had a positive influence on athletes confidence, gave the coach credibility, and was inspirational to the athlete. Several parents/significant others/siblings and athletes indicated that having an elite competitor take interest in the athlete played a large role in their motivation and dedication to training and striving for excellence. The second largest higher order category in the coaching styles and characteristics higher order category was having sports and training knowledge. This higher order category was comprised of 10 different tags. Eight individuals cited this higher order category in the early years, eight in the middle years, 12 in the elite years, and one individual cited it as having been present across all three time contexts. Tags in the sport and training knowledge higher order category included playing the assistant coachs role (e.g., fulfilling the role of being the athletes friend and confidant), having book learned knowledge about the sport and the sport culture, fitting into the sport culture, being good at sport strategy, having good technical knowledge of the sport, having a good training plan, being an innovator in the sport, being knowledgeable about the sport, and being able to recognize talent. Not all tags were positive and helpful, as the tag not great technically was also cited in this higher order category. However, this tag was only cited by one individual. Goals Like the parenting context, the coaching context also contained a goal umbrella category. The coaching goal category was comprised of eight different higher order categories regarding coach focus or objectives in coaching. The higher order categories in this category included a balance of performance and non-performance objectives, a focus on development, a focus on development and fun, a focus on winning, a focus on winning and development, a focus on winning and fun, a focus on winning, development, and fun, and finally a focus and emphasis on fun. Six of the higher order categories in the goal category were made up of singular tags of the same name. Coaches having a balance of performance and non-performance objectives were cited by one individual in the early years, one in the middle years, and three in the elite years. Having a focus on development and fun was cited by three individuals during the early years. A coach focus on winning was cited by one individual in the early years, eight in the middle years, and two in the elite years. Focusing on winning and development and focusing on winning and fun were each cited by one individual in the early and elite periods, respectively. The combination of the three components, focusing on winning, development, and fun, was also cited by only one individual during the elite years. The higher order category of focus on development by the coach was comprised of four tags. These tags included focusing on basic skill development, having a focus on learning and development, focusing on tactical development, and finally, focusing on technique. Seven interview participants indicated that the athletes coach had a focus on athlete development during the early years. Seven individuals made citations in this higher

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order category during the middle years and five made cites during the elite years. The focus on athlete development included a focus on skill drills, using simulated competition drills, a focus on the athletes learning process, and a focus on the basics of skill learning for that sport. The final higher order category in the goal category was having a focus on and emphasizing fun. Emphasizing fun, focusing on fun, making it fun, and working with this coach was fun were the four tags comprising this higher order category. Four individuals in the early years, five in the middle years, one in the elite years cited this higher order category. Moreover, one individual cited this higher order category as having occurred across all three phases of the athletes career. Athletes indicated that coaches intentionally reminded them to have fun, created a fun atmosphere in practice, and was fun and enjoyable to be around as coach, which also made it fun. Coaches indicated that they worked to lighten athletes up in practice and tried to emphasize the importance of enjoyment with their athletes during the rigors of elite training. Motivational Climate The motivational climate category was created based on nine higher order categories that dealt with ways coaches structured the athletes motivational climate or directly motivated athletes. Higher order categories within this category included challenged the athlete, created a competitive atmosphere in training, exposed the athlete to achievers, encouraged the athlete, positively pushed the athlete, provided a positive environment and opportunities, pushed the athlete hard, used traditional techniques to weed out athletes and used motivational techniques. Six of the higher order categories in the motivational climate category were comprised of singular tags. The higher order category, challenged athletes, was cited by one individual in the early years, two in the middle years, and two in the elite years. Providing a competitive atmosphere for athletes in training was cited by one individual during the early years. One individual each in the middle and the elite years cited coaches as having exposed athletes to high achievers within the sport as a means of creating a motivational climate. Two individuals, one in the early years and one in the middle years, cited that the coach provided the athlete with a positive push and was a disciplinarian when needed. Two individuals, one in the middle years and one in the elite years, said that coaches pushed athletes hard. It is important to note that this hard push was not seen as a negative by the individuals citing it, but as being the appropriate technique for the athlete in that situation. The higher order category, used traditional coaching techniques to weed out athletes, was cited by two individuals in the middle years. For example, the coach may have run grueling pre-season practices and looked for the athletes who could psychologically cope. The higher order category encouraged athletes was comprised of three different tags that described how a coach worked with their athletes. The tags included general encouragement, never putting the athlete down, and praising effort/ focusing on the positive. Three individuals cited this higher order category during the early years, three cited it during the middle years, and one cited it during the elite years.

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Coaches were also cited as having provided their athlete with a positive environment and good opportunities within sport. Tags within this higher order category included created the right environment and provided stability. One interview participant cited this higher order category as having occurred during the elite time period, saying that her coach always made sure that she was surrounded by good supportive people. The last higher order category within the motivational climate category was used motivational techniques. Tags included a general use of techniques to motivate athletes and by telling motivational stories. The motivational techniques coaches used included being a good storyteller and telling stories of high-level competition. One individual cited this higher order category in the early years, two cited it in the middle years, and four cited it during the elite years of athlete development. Support The support category was comprised of higher order categories in which coaches provided their athletes with the support they needed in training and competition and as individuals. Three higher order categories, no pressure, support, and unconditional love and support, comprised this category. Both unconditional love and support and no pressure were comprised of tags of the same names. The latter, no pressure from the coach, was cited by one individual each in the early years and in the elite years. Providing an athlete with both unconditional love and support was cited by one individual during the athletes early year period. The higher order category with the majority of citations in the support umbrella category was support. This higher order category was comprised of three tags, support of athletes decisions and goals, pride in the athlete, and general support. This higher order category was cited by four individuals in the early years, three in the middle years, and seven in the elite years. Pride in the athlete was seen in the coach bragging to others, particularly the athletes parents, about his or her talent and abilities. Coaches were cited as having supported athletes choices and decisions regarding his or her talent and the types of performance and outcome goals he or she wanted to set. It is interesting to note that both of the citations regarding coaches supporting athletes decisions were made by athletes regarding their early year coaches. Finally, within the tag of general support, coaches were cited as being there emotionally for the athlete, being concerned about the athletes well-being after a loss, being generally supportive, and the coach always being present at practice, even when she did not need to be was seen as being supportive by the athlete. Taught Coaches, as might be expected given their role in athletes lives, taught in a variety of different ways. The taught category was comprised of ten different higher order categories that explored different ways in which coaches taught athletes and facilitated learning. Teaching higher order categories included didnt teach psychological skills, taught directly, emphasized expectations and standards, emphasized hard work and discipline, provided feedback and critique, fostered/ nurtured/ instilled skills and attitudes, showed athletes how to keep success in perspective, mentored, modeled, and taught psychological skills.

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Only two higher order categories, didnt teach psychological skills and modeled, were made up of singular tags bearing the same name as the higher order category. Coaches who didnt teach psychological skills were cited by one individual in the middle and one individual in the elite career periods. One of these coaches was cited by the athlete as not having a specific focus in training on the mental side, one coach cited that she did not intentionally use or teach psychological skills as a part of her coaching, and one athlete cited that his coach was not tolerant of mental training within a physical training program. Coaches who taught through the indirect method of modeling were cited by one individual in the elite phase, two in the middle phase, and one in the elite phase. Coaches were cited as having been good role models, having modeled a can do attitude, and having modeled good psychological strengths and the use of those strengths (it was also noted that this coach never intentionally sought to teach these skills). The higher order category of using direct teaching methods with athletes was made up of five different tags expressing things coaches directly taught. These tags included be openminded, you cant always get your own way, athlete confidence, respect your opponents, and be tough. Overall, this higher order category received three citations in the middle years and one in the elite years of athlete development. Eight tags focused on the types of expectations and standards coaches emphasized in the emphasized expectations and standards higher order category. The emphasized expectations and standards higher order category made up the largest higher order category within the taught umbrella category. Coach emphasized such things as academics, commitment to training, competitiveness, personal responsibility, acting professionally as an athlete, and good sportsmanship. Additional tags included both high and low general expectations of athletes. This higher order category was cited by one individual in the early years, six in the middle, and eight in the elite phase. The higher order category of coaches emphasizing hard work and discipline was comprised of five tags. Coaches emphasized hard work, judged athletes effort not talent, led by showing examples of hard work and discipline, made the athlete work harder, and taught the athlete a belief in hard work. Three athletes cited the higher order category of emphasized hard work and discipline as having occurred in the early years. Additionally, this higher order category was cited eight times in the middle years and four times in the elite years, making it the second largest higher order category in the taught umbrella category. The largest tag within this higher order category was coaches made the athletes work hard. Coaches were cited as making people suffer in a good way, making training camps fatiguing, and making athletes work hard by expecting a lot from them. Coaches also taught athletes by providing feedback and critiquing different aspects of athletes performance within the sport environment. Six individuals during the middle years and eight during the elite years cited this coaching behavior as having occurred. Tags in this higher order category included not praising or stroking the athlete a lot {said in the context of not giving praise for praise sake thus making it more meaningful when given), giving specific constructive feedback regarding performance, giving suggestions to athletes while being okay if the athlete did not take the suggestions, helping the athlete analyze performance, and providing honest feedback regarding performance. The tag of helping athletes analyze

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their performance was the largest within this higher order category. Within this context, the help with analysis was centered on race technique and competitive performance evaluation. Coaches were cited as fostering/ nurturing/ instilling both a stay in the present focus and a success philosophy. The higher order category of fostered/ nurtured/ instilled was cited by one individual each in the middle and elite phases of the athletes career. The higher order category of keeping success in perspective included three tags describing how coaches helped athletes keep success in perspective. Coaches taught athletes to keep success in perspective mainly through an emphasis on not dwelling on losing or mistakes, but also through not making a big deal of winning, and by teaching athletes how to keep things in perspective (e.g., when looking at the big picture of life a single competition isnt the most significant or important thing). Overall, two individuals cited the kept success in perspective higher order category in the early years, one cited this higher order category in the middle years, and six individuals cited it during the elite years. Mentoring was another teaching method employed by coaches in their work with athletes of all developmental levels. Two interview individuals indicated that coaches mentored during the early years, five in the middle years, and four in the elite years cited this higher order category. Two individuals also indicated the mentored higher order category as occurring across all three time periods. The mentoring higher order category included seven different tags exploring how coaches mentored their athletes. In addition to providing general mentoring to athletes such as helping me deal with stress and be happy, coaches also helped athletes become a student of the sport, helped them become successful in life outside of sport, helped them deal with emotional reactions to setbacks, helped the athlete find financial resources needed to fund his or her training, helped the athlete set useful and meaningful goals, and helped them with their post-sport transition (e.g., ending a successful athletic career and moving on to a successful adult life). The last higher order category in the taught category was taught psychological skills. Eight different tags explored ways in which coaches taught psychological skills to their athletes. Psychological skills teaching tags included teaching anxiety control, discipline, how to focus/ eliminating distractions, goal setting, planning (and helping with planning), imagery and visualization skills, and using and modeling the use of psychological skills as a coach. Additionally, coaches were cited as generally incorporating the use of psychological skills into their teaching. This higher order category was cited by three individuals during early years, six in the middle years, and seven in the elite years. One coach indicated that he trained the athletes mindset and worked on anxiety control with the athlete in order to enhance his confidence and to help him deal with adversity. A parent indicated that his athletes coach taught the athlete anxiety control techniques in order to help her be better aware of her competition without panicking. One of the most cited tags in this higher order category was coaches teaching visualization and imagery skills to athletes. Athletes and coaches cited the fact that coaches taught and reinforced these skills as a means of controlling anxiety, strengthening practice, and enhancing competition.

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The final category in the coaching overview contains four different higher order categories that did not fit into any of the other umbrella categories. These higher order categories include the general coaching influence, athletes leaving home to receive coaching, parent/ family/ self-coaching, and being coached to train with the opposite sex for performance enhancement. The higher order category general influence was comprised of a tag of the same name and considered interview participant statements indicating a general positive influence by the coach on the athlete. Three individuals cited this higher order category in the early years of athlete development. This higher order category was cited by one individual in the middle years and by two individuals in the elite years. An athlete leaving home for coaching and training with the opposite sex (e.g., a female runner trains with a group of male runners during track workouts) were both higher order categories made up of singular tags of the same name. The former, leaving home for coaching was cited by seven individuals during the athletes middle years. The latter, training with the opposite sex, was cited by one individual during the elite career phase. Both of these higher order categories were indicated to have had a positive influence on the athletes development. The final coaching context higher order category was parent/ family/ self-coaching. This higher order category considered situations in which an athlete coached him or herself or was coached by someone else close to them. Tags in this higher order category included parents assisting at meets, parents coaching, siblings coaching, teammates coaching, and being self-coached. Two individuals in the early years, three in the middle years, and three in the elite years cited this higher order category.

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This study was designed to examine the process of psychological talent development in Olympic champions by first identifying the psychological talents of these outstanding performers and then determining what individuals, institutions, and strategies influenced the development of these talents. Particular emphasis was placed on identifying parenting and coaching practices perceived to have influenced psychological talent development, especially as they pertained to Blooms (1985) three phases of the elite athletes career. In this discussion the psychological characteristics and motivation for involvement results will be summarized and discussed. Then, we will turn to the discussion of the development of psychological talent findingsfirst, discussing the general source and modes of influence results followed by an examination of the parenting and coaching practice findings. Finally, study strengths and limitations will be identified as well as future research directions and implications for guiding practice. Characteristics of Outstanding Athletes Psychological Strengths and Characteristics After an extensive review of the literature, Williams and Krane (2001) identified a number of psychological characteristics of highly successful athletes as well as the mental skills these athletes used to achieve optimal psychological states. Characteristics included self-regulation of arousal, high confidence, better concentration and focus, an in control but not forcing it attitude, positive imagery and self-talk, and high determination and commitment. Skills used to achieve peak psychological states included imagery, goal setting, thought control strategies, arousal management, well-developed competition plans, welldeveloped coping strategies, and pre-competitive mental preparation plans. The quantitative and qualitative results collected with these Olympic champions paralleled the previous findings almost exactly. For example, the ACSI-28 results showed that these outstanding performers had high coping with adversity, goal setting and mental preparation, and concentration/ focus scores. Similarly, TOPS results showed that these Olympians were high on goal setting, activation, relaxation, emotional control, and automaticity/ attention focus. Qualitative results triangulated many of these findings showing that these athletes were characterized by their ability to focus, set and achieve goals, mental toughness, competitiveness, optimism, confidence, sport intelligence coachability, and drive. Hence, we can be very confident that these variables are critical components of the psychology of athletic excellence. In addition to verifying previous findings in a very select group of superb performers, this investigation examined several previously unexplored variables that might be related to athletic success. Most notable were the perfectionism, optimism, and hope findings. Results revealed that the Olympians were moderately perfectionistic relative to their overall disposition scores. More interesting, however, was the pattern of the subscale findings on the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale. The champions scored moderately high or high on personal standards and organization but low on concern over mistakes, parental expectations, parental criticism and doubts about action. This is exactly what one would expect based on

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the literature regarding adaptive versus maladaptive perfectionism (Frost et. al., 1990; Rice & Mirzadeh, 2000). These findings suggest that future researchers should explore both the positive and negative aspects of perfectionistic tendencies in athletes as well as the relationship of both to athletic success. These athletes were also optimistic in their orientations, scoring high on the LOT-R. This finding was also triangulated across data sources with 9 of the coaches and 8 of the significant others interviewed identifying this as an important characteristic of these Olympians. If this finding is verified in more controlled investigations and linked to performance, intervention studies might be in order as it has been demonstrated that optimism can be learned (Seligman, 1990). This group of athletes was also characterized by high levels of dispositional hope. Furthermore, they exhibited extremely high agency and pathway hope subscale scores. These hope findings were triangulated to some degree by high TOPS and ACSI-28 goal setting subscale scores and qualitative findings emphasizing both goal setting and goal dedication. These findings are also consistent with the initial athletic hope research of Curry and Snyder (2000) and lead us to recommend that sport psychology researchers further examine dispositional hope and its relationship to athletic success. Moreover, it should be noted that hope is an especially interesting construct to explore because sport psychology goal setting research has tended to focus most of its attention on specific goal characteristics. However, the hope model looks at goal setting as a system with both dispositional and state components as well as the specific goals one sets, possible pathways for achieving goals, and motivational strategies for dealing with obstacles the block goal achievement (Snyder, 2000). It was anticipated that this investigation would shed some light on the task versus ego goal orientation controversy relative to elite athletes. While it was found that the Olympians had high task and moderate ego orientation scores, the lack of any normative comparative data from elite athletes prevented any firm conclusions from being made. The qualitative results also identified new variables and variable components that future investigators may consider. For example, consistent with previous research (Williams and Krane, 2001), the ability to focus was identified as one of the most cited characteristics of these highly successful performers. Moreover, in addition to the general concept of focus several components were also identified including the abilities to narrow ones attention, block out distractions, attend to what one can control, and automatize ones responses. Sport psychology researchers studying attention and concentration might find it useful to explore these potential components. Mental toughness was another important characteristic identified in this study. While athletes and coaches often talk about mental toughness, seldom has it been precisely defined. Participants (athletes, significant others, and coaches) in this study were certainly not uniform in their views of mental toughness, but some of the more common components of it focused on resilience, perseverance, and the ability to successfully deal with adversity. Future investigators might further study this area by working from and expanding on these components.

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Finally, sport intelligence was an interesting new psychological characteristic identified in this study. It consisted of such themes as the ability to analyze, being innovative relative to ones sport technique, being a student of the sport, making good decisions, understanding the nature of elite sport, and being a quick learner. Further interviews with athletes and coaches about this variable and its components would be useful. Investigators could explore the make-up, antecedents, and potential effects of sport intelligence on performance. Motivation for Involvement In addition to identifying the psychological strengths and characteristics of these individuals, motivation for involvement was determined. It was clear that these individuals were highly motivated and determined, a finding that repeatedly emerged from the qualitative results. They were also very goal directed and oriented as evidenced by both the quantitative ACSI-28, TOPS, and hope assessments as well as by the dominant qualitative achievementaccomplishment motive theme. Looking across the qualitative and quantitative findings it was also clear that these athletes had multiple motives for involvement (e.g., achievement/ competence, fun, love of sport, affiliation, attention-recognition) and that they were more intrinsically than extrinsically oriented. Some of their motives became more or less important at different phases of their careers. For example, in the early and middle years fun, affiliation, and love of the sport were most frequently mentioned motives while attention-recognition became more important during the middle and elite years. Achievement-accomplishment was prevalent during all three phases, however. The motivation findings, then, show that these Olympic champions did not begin involvement with the goal of being an Olympic champion or winning or dominating events. Rather, as Bloom (1985) has suggested, they became involved in sports for fun, affiliation and development. They experienced initial success and fall in love with the sport and found it to be an area where they could meet their achievement-accomplishment needs. However, an intrinsic desire to achieve-accomplish drives athletes through all phases of their career and does not diminish as they become more attention-recognition oriented. Physical Characteristics While this study was not designed to examine the physical abilities and talents of these individuals per se, all participants were asked to address the physical attributes of the athletes that contributed to their success. Results revealed that these individuals were physically gifted. These gifts included such attributes as all-round physical ability, good multi-sport background, good feel/ kinesthetic ability, right body structure and size for sport, well-suited aerobic and anaerobic capacities, and flexibility. However, these champions, while clearly physically talented, were not always the most physically talented in their cohort groups. The key was to find the right sport for their physical abilities and then maximize those abilities through hard work, the development of good psychological skills, and good coaching.

Olympic Talent Development The Development of Psychological Talent Sources and Modes of Psychological Talent

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The major purpose of this study was to examine the process of psychological talent development in U.S. Olympic champions. Results showed that many individuals and institutions were perceived to influence the development of these outstanding performers. Specifically, sources that influenced theses athletes included the community, family, nonsport personnel, the individual him or herself, sport environment/ personnel and the sport process. Moreover, modes of influence were both direct, like teaching or emphasizing certain psychological lessons, and indirect like involving modeling or unknowingly creating certain psychological environments. These results, then, supported the work of Bloom (1985) and Csikszentmihalyi and colleagues (1993) in showing that the psychological development of outstanding athletes takes place over a long time period and is influenced by a variety of individuals and factors. This long-term process involves both the talented person and a strong support system. Although the interview guide was organized around Blooms (1985) three career phases of elite performer development it became clear that all 10 athletes' experiences easily fit into these stages. Hence, in the early years the athlete developed a love for the sport, had a great deal of fun, received encouragement from significant others, was free to explore the activity, and achieved a good deal of success. Parents also instilled the value of hard work and doing things well during the early years. In the precision phase, or the middle years, a master coach or teacher promoted long-term systematic skill learning in the talented individual. The focus was on technical mastery, technique, and excellence in skill development. Finally, in the elite years or the integration phase, an individual continued to work with a master teacher (coach) and practiced many hours a day to turn training and technical skills into personalized performance excellence. During this phase, there was a realization that the activity was significant in ones life. Finally, while the presence of important characteristics (both physical and psychological) was easy to see in this sample because of the large number of individuals that had citations in each tag, category, and umbrella group, the way in which each athlete developed their psychological strengths and skills was more varied and less uniform. Thus, the number of individuals citing each raw theme, tag, and higher order category in each mode appears much lower (although some patterns across participants were identified). This highlights the importance of recognizing that although the important psychological skills for performance excellence have been identified, there are many different ways to develop these skills. In addition, the number of individuals citing specific themes is only one criterion for judging the importance of a finding. Understanding in rich detail how events occur, how they are similar and different across individuals, and their meanings for participants are other important criteria for judging success of qualitative research. The Role of Parents Not surprisingly, parents and families were perceived to play a critical role in psychological talent development. They were found to provide financial, logistical, and social-emotional support. Specifically, parents were very committed to their child and did

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such things as modeled an active lifestyle, exposed their child to different sports, transported their child, attended games and practices, and provided considerable encouragement and unconditional support. While families clearly supported and encouraged participation, in most cases they exerted little pressure to win. This is consistent with research by Power and Woolger (1994) who found that parental support was positively related to childrens enjoyment and enthusiasm for swimming. Similarly, it supports Cts (1999) recent research with elite athletes and their families showing that families played a critical role in elite athlete involvement and athletic development. Most interesting were the findings that families emphasized an optimistic belief in the childs ability to succeed or a can do attitude. This is consistent with the research of Brustad (1993), that found that a higher rate of parental encouragement was correlated with perceived physical competence for children. Families also modeled hard work and discipline, a finding consistent with research by Monsass (1985), Sloboda & Howe (1991), Sloan (1985) and Sosniak (1985) who showed that parents of highly successful individuals espoused or modeled values related to achievement such as hard work, success, being active, and persistence. This optimistic achievement-oriented climate created by parents, then, helped develop the confidence and motivation needed for future success. At the same time, parents emphasized the notion that if you are going to do it, do it right attitude. They also modeled a hard work ethic, held high (but reasonable) expectations and standards for their child, and a stick to it and follow-through on commitments attitude. These results are consistent with Blooms (1985) conclusion that the successful development of a talented individual requires the facilitation of disciplined involvement while avoiding excessive expectations. This is also consistent with Csikzentmihalyi et al. (1993) complex family notion. That is, these families are both integrated and differentiated. Integrated in that they were stable in the sense of support and consistency. Differentiated in that they encouraged their children to individually seek out new challenges and opportunities. Finally, with current concerns on early sport specialization and excessive pressure to win, it is interesting that in the early phase of the athletes career the majority of these parents did not have winning or the Olympic Games as an objective of participation. Instead, they focused on their childs happiness, a balance of fun and development, and the general developmental benefits of participation. While there was some emphasis on winning and success, these were not the predominant objectives of participation. At the same time, parents emphasized working hard, having a positive attitude, and discipline. Throughout the middle and elite phases of the athletes career many parents also played an important role in helping the athlete keep winning and success in perspective. The roles of the parents also changed over time (from leader to follower role over three phases) supporting the research of Ct (1999). The Role of Coaches Like parents, coaches were also found to be a primary influence on athlete psychological development. They did this in a number of ways including emphasizing certain things such as hard work and discipline, having fun, having characteristics that facilitated athlete trust, proving encouragement and support, directly teaching or fostering mental skills,

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and by understanding these athletes. Looking across the interviews it was also clear that the same coaching strategies were not appropriate for each athletedifferent athletes required different things from their coaches at different points in their careers. This certainly emphasizes the importance of coaches reading athletes psychological needs and utilizing different approaches at different times and in different situations. Some evidence (Hanson & Gould, 1988) indicates, however, that many coaches are not skilled at reading their athletes psychological needs. A need exists to better understand this process and to help coaches better understand and meet the needs of their athletes. Establishing a strong coach-athlete relationship was critical for these champions. This was reported as being especially important in the middle and elite years. Moreover, participants indicated that key factors in this relationship involved coach credibility (e.g., elite status, knowledge), reciprocal trust and respect, understanding athletes needs and responding accordingly, and caring about the athlete as a person, not just a performer. Based on these findings further examining the elite athlete coach-athlete relationship seems critical since in the past much of the relationship research in this area has focused on youth sports not elite coaches (Smoll & Smith, 1989). In terms of Blooms (1985) career phases, a win focus on the part of coaches did not emerge for most athletes until the middle years. Fun and development were stressed in the early years. High expectations and standards, hard work, and discipline seemed to be especially important coaching practices in the last two phases. Lastly, it was interesting to note that many of the participants mentioned that early coaches did not damage the young athlete psychologically, verifying the conclusion that youth coaching can have an important effect on the psychological development of elite competitors. The importance of coaching psychology emerges from these findings. Coaches were reported to create motivational climates that pushed these champions in good ways. As previously mentioned, they emphasized hard work and had high expectations and standards. It was also reported that the coaches played an important role in helping the athletes keep success in perspective. Finally, the coaches were very involved in teaching these athletes mental skills such as imagery, goal setting, and mental preparation. This, then, certainly emphasizes the importance of coaches of elite competitors being well versed in psychological skills training. Dealing With Adversity and Costs of Talent Development While not the major focus of this study, costs of talent development were noted, such as giving up aspects of a social life outside of sport or having difficulty separating ones sport and self-identity. This is consistent with Howes (1999) conclusion that any intense effort to develop talent will have costs as well as benefits. More specifically, examining these costs and benefits would be a fruitful area of future research. Additionally, it would be interesting to explore the process of how athletes balance such costs and benefits over time. It must also be emphasized that while the majority of factors identified were positive, the participants at times struggled and faced adversity. Adversity factors experienced by the athletes included such things as injury, training frustrations, performance disappointments, and two athletes in this study even experienced clinical issues. Hence, Olympic champions,

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while having some outstanding psychological characteristics and talents are not supermen or superwomen immune to common or even severe psychological roadblocks or issues. During the course of their career, all athletes will face minor difficulties and some will experience major psychological difficulties during their development. And appropriate resources must be focused on helping them deal with such difficulties. Strengths and Limitations This investigation had a number of strengths. First, a very elite group of athletes was studied. Seldom before have so many high level elite athletes been interviewed and surveyed. These were supplemented with interviews with significant others and coaches who knew the athletes very well. Thus, triangulating findings across methods (surveys and interviews) and sources (athletes, coaches, and significant others) was a strength. Interviewing the three sources also allowed us to gain three unique views of psychological characteristics and talent in Olympic champions. A third strength was the three-person consensual validation procedure employed in the data analysis procedures. In addition, previous studies on psychological characteristics of athletes have used only one of two inventories, while this study employed an extensive battery of tests as well as qualitative interviews. Finally, a broad scope was taken to the study allowing for a greater scope of information to be obtained than has been done in previous studies. Like all investigations, this study had several limitations. First, only 10 athletes were surveyed and interviewed. While they were certainly unique in their performance accomplishments, their total number is small and no comparison group of elite but less successful athletes of comparable experience (and their significant others and coaches) were surveyed and interviewed. Similarly, elite athlete norms for most of the inventories were not available for comparison purposes. Third, only two minority athletes were included in the sample and only one participant would be considered poor (e.g., low economic resources) growing up. Finally, because the data was collected in a retrospective fashion, results are subject to attribution effects and memory bias. These sample limits must be kept in mind when interpreting these findings. It should also be noted in interpreting the findings that most of the coaches were not directly involved with the athletes during the early phase of their careers. Results, therefore, could be biased by a lack of knowledge about this phase. Future Research Directions Based on the results of this investigation, several lines of additional research are warranted. First, since this study did not employ a comparison group of elite athletes of similar experience and physical talent but who had failed to achieve consistent success, studying such a group of comparison athletes would further help determine how these individuals might have differed from their more successful counterparts in regards to their psychological development. Similarly, prospective studies of elite athletes would allow us to later compare more successful individuals free from the possible memory bias and attribution effect limits of retrospective studies. The degree that psychological characteristics are learned versus inherited is a point of some contention in the talent development literature. Ericsson (1996) suggests that talent development results from extensive deliberate practice not inherited characteristics or

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genetics. Others argue that inherited characteristics play a more important role (Howe, 1999). However, few researchers have addressed this issue in psychology and no investigators in sport psychology area. Examining the role of deliberate practice in the development of psychological skills and characteristics is critically important. Parenting practices and their role in psychological talent development is a fertile area of future research. The present results highlight the importance of parents supporting their child unconditionally while emphasizing discipline and hard work. In addition, the notion of positive or optimal parent push was evident where parents challenge and motivate athletes at some times, and other times provide empathy and support. Additionally, parents need to understand their athlete's psychological needs in order to understand how to provide him or her with the right amount of challenge and support in each situation. More needs to be known about how parents maintain the delicate balance between pushing and supportive involvement. Studies of effective versus less effective sport parents might be especially useful. Longitudinal case studies and observation research might be best suited in this regard. Finally, the ability of coaches to individualize strategies based on accurate assessments of athlete psychological characteristics and states was identified as important by these respondents. Previous research by Hanson and Gould (1987), however, has shown that many collegiate coaches were not effective in reading their athletes psychological states and traits. Studies examining factors related to coaches' abilities to appropriately read their athletes needs and states are badly needed. One possible predicator of such abilities worthy of exploration might be the coach's level of emotional intelligence (Goleman, 1995). Implications for Guiding Practice If the USOC is to sustain its competitive excellence in Olympic competition, much more must be known about talent development in athletes. This study, while exploratory, when combined with the other research in the area has a number of implications for guiding practice. Clearly, for example, the psychological development of outstanding athletes takes place over a long time period and is influenced by a variety of individuals and factors. This long-term process involves both the talented person and a strong support system. Short-term approaches to talent development will not suffice and systematic educational efforts for athletes, coaches, and parents are needed. In addition, to the above general recommendation for guiding practice, the present study has two particularly important implication areas. These include: (1) psychological characteristic results implications for coaches and (2) talent development parenting practice implications. Psychological Characteristics Results Implications for Coaches The psychological characteristic and motivation results of this study provided a good profile of the mental ingredients characterizing champion athletes. Table 11 lists these characteristics and can be used as a template for conceptualizing mental skills development in athletes. Before planning a mental skills training program, for example, coaches may think about their athletes relative to each of these components and the degree to which each athlete possesses each characteristic can be rated. This exercise will help identify particular

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characteristics to improve and psychological skills training programs can be developed. Similarly, a number of National Sport Governing Bodies, such as USA Swimming, US Figure Skating, and USA Tennis, have developed listings of psychological competencies that should be developed in athletes at certain points in their careers. The present results should be addressed in such psychological competency listings. Moreover, the psychological talent development strategies identified in this study provide important information on both factors affecting and strategies for developing these psychological characteristics. Table 11. Champion's Profile: Psychological characteristics of champions Athlete Rating (1 = high on attribute; 10 = low ability) _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____

Psychological Characteristic Concentration-Focus Hope Confidence Adaptive Perfectionism Intrinsic Motivation Mental Toughness Ability to Cope Emotional Control: Ability to Activate & Relax Coachability Sport Intelligence Drive Competitiveness Automaticity

_____ _____ _____ _____ _____

The profile of champions might also be used as a recruiting tool. In identifying talent coaches could rate athletes on each of these attributes and look for individuals who either currently demonstrate or have the potential to demonstrate many of the important skills. However, it must be remembered (and emphasized with coaches and parents) that no one exact formula of mental skills is absolutely essential for athletic success. For example, one Olympic champion we interviewed in the present study did not use imagery at all in her career while another gold medal winner relied heavily on imagery in his mental training. However,

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both employed the vast majority of mental skills identified in this study. Hence, coaches could use the champions profile for identifying athletes characteristics and attributes, but should not worry if any one attribute or skill is not fully developed. It is also important to recognize that psychological attributes are only part of what is needed for athletic success. As the results of this study show systematic long-term physical training, physical talent, and endowments are critical considerations. Talent Development Parenting Education These results have important implications for parenting athletes. First, although the popular media highlights some prominent examples of parents entering their child into sports for the purpose of developing them into an elite athlete (e.g., Tiger Woods, Venus Williams), this and other studies of youth sport participation and elite performers have demonstrated that this strategy is probably not the best approach to take. Rather, our results support the work of Bloom (1985) and Ct (1999) and show that most champion athletes did not start their sport careers with Olympic aspirations in mind. Instead, they were exposed to active lifestyles, numerous sports, and encouraged to participate for fun and developmental reasons. They found the right sport for their body type and mental make-up and only later after they fell in love with the activity did they develop elite sport aspirations. Moreover, once they developed Olympic dreams, parents and coaches provided the athletes with the support they needed to turn their dreams into reality. What is needed, then, are programs to expose large numbers of children to Olympic sports. These programs should emphasize fun and fundamentals, and once young athletes exhibit talent, parents should be educated as to the most productive ways to foster that talent. Parents and coaches should also understand the best ways to facilitate psychological development at each stage of the athletes career. Given these results we recommend that the USOC Sport Science and Technology Division consider developing practical guides for coaches and parents aimed at developing athletic talent. Development guides should be focused around Blooms (1985) stages of talent development and emphasize many of the guidelines uncovered in this study relative to fostering psychological talent. Especially important is the need to understand the support and encouragement necessary at the entry levels of sport. The importance of not pressuring athletes to win early in their careers but to teach values such as hard work, optimism, and a can do attitude seems paramount. Moreover, practical advice, like that coming from the participants in this study and contained in Table 12, should be emphasized. Finally, this information should be conveyed in a number of forms. A written guide could be developed and disseminated (e.g., The USOC Guide to Athletic Talent Development). A video could be developed and shown in all USOC Training Facility visitor centers. USA Today and Sports Illustrated columns on developing athletic talent could be initiated, and during the Olympic Games television coverage U.S. Olympic champions could tape public service spots focusing on important talent development messages.

Olympic Talent Development Table 12. Parenting Champions: Advice from Athletes, Parents and Coaches Achievement Strategies

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Emphasize a can do / Dont quit attitude. Allow kids to learn on their ownstand on own feet. Challenge your child to reach as far as he or she can. Encourage your child to problem solve in a healthy and constructive manner (e.g., explore all the options, seek advice and help when necessary). Expose your child to elite achievers in a variety of settings. Let them see that "ordinary" people just like them can achieve extraordinary things. Help athletes understand and value the connection between hard work and achievement. Strive to provide your child with the optimal push - a mix of unconditional support and parental motivation. Recognize that the optimal amount of push will change as your child ages, and it will vary from child to child. Help your child cope with failure and frustration. Help him or her see set backs as a normal and helpful part of striving for and achieving success. Encouragement Be enthusiastic and encouraging. Give encouragement. Be supportive/ your childs biggest fan. Don't criticize your child. Self-Motivation The child-athlete needs to be self-motivated and self-driven. As a parent you can help your child-athlete maintain his or her motivation, but you can't create it for him or her. Understand that the key to developing talent in any area is to first foster and build an internal love of the activity and a solid base of healthy psychological skills (e.g., healthy coping mechanisms, determination, focus). Long term commitment to an activity or a goal needs to come from within your child. Be dedicated to your child-athlete's goals - but make sure the goals are his or hers. Discipline Help kids make and follow-through on short-term commitments, especially during the early years. Provide your child with both discipline and guidance.

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Allow the child to be a kid, especially during early years of involvement in activities. Listen to your athlete and strive to understand his or her developmental needs. Maintain a focus on development and enjoyment, especially during the early years. Sport involvement will help your child's confidence, provide him or her with a source of self-pride, and can help an adolescent through the perils of puberty. Encourage your child to remain involved in sport and physical activity, even if they decide to leave the competitive component. Coaching Emphasize the importance of coach respect and good sportspersonship. Find a good coach, then let them do their job. Don't be a stage parent. During the early years, focus on finding coaches that will interact with your child, who will keep the activity fun, and who will not harm your child or his or her enthusiasm Maintain a good relationship with your child's coach based on mutual trust and respect. Monitor your child's early coaches to ensure that they do not push too hard. Unconditional Love and Support Let your child know you value who he or she is not just what he or she does or what he or she can accomplish. Make sure you child knows that your love and support is unconditional. Role Model Lead by example. Be a role model - model the behaviors you would like to see your child exemplify (e.g., determination, an active lifestyle). Perspective Maintain a sense of sibling/ family member equality in the home. Help your child keep his or her sport identity and winning in perspective with the rest of his or her life. Stress the importance of education and maintaining a well-rounded sense of being. Avoid an outcome-oriented philosophy (e.g., focusing only on winning). It will decrease motivation and enjoyment over time and may lead to the termination of the sport experience. Instead, focus on process and performance achievements. If your child experiences success early, strive to help him or her remain 'normal'. (e.g., winning Olympic gold does not exempt one from doing his or her chores) Focus on performance expectations/ keep your expectations realistic and low key.

Olympic Talent Development General Provide your child-athlete with a safe and enjoyable environment. Don't try to live through your child. Encourage open and honest communication. Don't criticize the athlete's coach or teammates in front of the athlete.

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Finally, we agree with the recommendations of the USOC developing young champions summit report published in 2001 (Bauer, Martens, & Gould, 2001). That is, the USOC and its NGBs must derive a philosophy of talent development and help NGBs to do so. Systematic talent development programs must also be initiated and sustained over time beginning at the earliest stages of sport and physical activity involvement. NGBs and the USOC need to better utilize existing talent development expertise and information, focus on talent development in coaching and parent education programs, conduct talent development and identification research, and consider talent identification and development efforts within the political context of sports organizations. Conclusion The results of this study have shown that these Olympic champions were characterized by a number of important psychological characteristics. Hence, we have a very good idea of the psychological characteristics of champions. It must be remembered, however, that these are group results. No one Olympian was characterized by all the factors identified. In addition, each was unique in how the factors were combined to comprise his or her unique psychological make-up and in the exact pathway of his or her own talent development. Findings also clearly revealed that psychological talent development is best thought of as a complex system made up of a variety of factors of influence. It is a long-term process that requires proper nurturing if success is to be achieved. Any number of individuals and agencies influence this process and do so in a variety of direct and indirect ways. It is our hope that as we begin to study the process of psychological talent development in outstanding athletes, we will be better equipped to help all athletes better develop mentally so that they can achieve their personal performance and well-being objectives. For as Howe (1999, p. 182) has indicated: We cannot map peoples lives in advance, but much can be done to make desirable outcomes more likely. Acquiring high abilities is one such outcome. We can and should act to make it happen more often.

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Bauer, I., Martens, R., & Gould, D. (2001). USOC developing young champions summit report. Unpublished report submitted to the USOC Sport Science and Technology Division, US Olympic Complex, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Bloom, B.S. (Ed.). (1985). Developing talent in young people. NY: Ballantine. Brustad, R. J. (1993). Who will go out and play? Parental and psychological influences on childrens attraction and socialization factors. Pediatric Exercise Science, 5, 210-223. Ct, J. (1999). The influence of the family in the development of talent in sport. The Sport Psychologist, 13, 395-417. Csikszentmihalyi, M., Rathunde, K., Whalen, S., & Wong, M. (1993). Talented teenagers: The roots of success and failure. NY: Cambridge University Press. Curry, L. A., & Snyder, C. R. (2000). Hope takes the field: Mind matters in athletic performance. In C.R. Snyder (Ed.), Handbook of hope: Theory, measures and applications (pp. 243-259). San Diego: Academic Press. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self determinations of behavior. NY: Plenum Press. Duda, J. L. (1989). The relationship between task and ego orientation and the perceived purpose of sport among male and female high school athletes. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 11, 318-335. Durand-Bush, N., & Salmela, J. H. (2001). The development of talent in sport. In R. M. Singer, H. A. Hausenblais, & C. M. Janelle (Eds.), Handbook of Sport Psychology (2nd ed., pp. 269-289). NY: Wiley. Ericsson, K. A. (Ed.) (1996). The road to excellence: the acquisition of expert performance in the arts, sciences, sports, and games. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Frost, R., & Henderson, K.J. (1991). Perfectionism and reactions to athletic competition. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 13, 323-335. Frost, R., Marten, P., Lahart, C., & Rosenblate, R. (1990). The dimensions of perfectionism. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 14, 449-468. Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence. NY: Bantam Books. Gould, D., Eklund, R.C., & Jackson, S. A. (1993). Coping strategies used by U.S. Olympic wrestlers. Research Quarterly for Exercise & Sport, 64, 83-93.

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Gould, D., Greenleaf, C., Dieffenbach, K., Lauer, L., Chung, Y., Peterson, K., and McCann, S. (1999). Positive and negative factors influencing U.S. Olympic athletes and coaches: Nagano Games assessment. Final grant report submitted to the U.S. Olympic Committee Sport Science and Technology Division, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Gould, D., Jackson, S.A., & Finch, L.M. (1993a). Life at the top: The experience of U.S. national champion figure skaters. The Sport Psychologist, 7, 354-374. Gould, D., Jackson, S.A., & Finch, L.M. (1993b). Sources of stress in national champion figure skaters. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 15, 134-159. Hanson, T., & Gould, D. (1988). Factors affecting the ability of coaches to predict their athletes trait and state anxiety levels. The Sport Psychologist, 2, 298-313. The Hardiness Institute, Inc. (1994). PVS-III. Retrieved from http://www.hardinessinstitute.com/students/htm Hardy, L., Jones, G., & Gould, D. (1996). Understanding psychological preparation for sport: Theory and practice of elite performers. Chichester, UK: Wiley. Howe, M. J. A. (1999). The psychology of high abilities. Washington Square, NY: New York University Press. Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Miles, M.B., & Huberman, A.M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis (2nd ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Monsaas, J. A. (1985). Learning to be a world-class tennis player. In B. S. Bloom (Ed.), Developing talent in young people (pp. 211-269). NY: Balantine. Patton, M. Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation methods (2nd ed.). Beverly Hills: Sage. Pelletier, L. G., Fortier, M. S., Vallerand, R. J., Tuson, K. M., Briere, N. M., & Blais, M. R. (1995). Toward a new measure of intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, and amotivation in sports: The Sport Motivation Scale (SMS). Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 17, 35-53. Power, T. G., & Woolger, C. (1994). Parenting practices and age-group swimming: A correlational study. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 65(1), 56-66. Rice, K. G., & Mirzadeh, S. A. (2000). Perfectionism, attachment, and adjustment. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 47(2), 238-250. Scheier, M. F., Carver, C. S., & Bridges, M. W. (1994). Distinguishing optimist from neurotic (and trait anxiety, self-mastery, and self-esteem): A reevaluation of the Life Orientation Test. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67(6), 201-228.

Olympic Talent Development Seligman, M. (1990). Learned optimism. NY: Knof. Sloan, L. A. (1985). Phases of learning. In B. S. Bloom (Ed.), Developing talent in young people (pp. 409-438). NY: Ballantine.

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Sloboda, J. A., & Howe, M. J. A. (1991). Biographical precursors of musical excellence: An interview study. Psychology of Music, 19, 3-21. Smith, R. E., & Christensen, D. S. (1994). Psychological skills as predictors of performance and survival in professional baseball. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 17, 399-415. Smith, R..E., Schultz, R.W., Smoll, F.L., & Ptacek, J.T. (1995). Development and validation of a multidimensional measure of sport specific psychological skills: The Athletic Coping Skills Inventroy-28. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 17, 379-398. Smith, R.E., Smoll, F.L., & Schutz, R.W. (1990). Measurement and correlates of sportspecific cognitive and somatic trait anxiety. Anxiety Research, 2, 263-280. Smoll, R.L, & Smith, R.E. (1989). Leadership behaviors in youth sports: A theoretical model and research paradigm. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 19, 1522-1551. Snyder, C. R. (Ed.) (2000). Handbook of hope: Theory, measures of applications. San Diego: Academic Press. Snyder, C. R., Cheavens, J., & Michael, S. (1999). Hoping. In C.R. Snyder (Ed.), Coping: The psychology of what works (pp. 205-231). NY: Oxford University Press. Snyder, C. R., Harris, S., Anderson, J. R., Holleran, S. A., Irving, L. M., Sigmon, S. T., Yoshinobu, L. Gibb, J., Langelle, C., & Harney, P. (1991). The will and the ways: Development and validation of an individual-differences measure of hope. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60(4), 570-585. Sosniak, L. A. (1985). A long-term commitment to learning. In B. S. Bloom (Ed.), Developing talent in young people (pp. 477-506). NY: Ballantine. Thomas, P.R., Murphy, S.M., & Hardy, L. (1999). Test of performance strategies: Development and preliminary validation of a comprehensive measure of athletes psychological skills. Journal of Sport Sciences, 17(9), 697-711. Whitehead, A.N. (1929). The aims of education. NY: Free Press. Williams, J. M., & Krane, V. (2001). Psychological characteristics of peak performance. In J.M. Williams (Ed.), Applied sport psychology: Personal growth to peak performance (4th ed., pp. 137-147). Mountain View, CA: Mayfield.

Olympic Talent Development Footnotes 1. The authors would like to thank Amy Nakamoto and Nori Sie Pennisi for their helpful comments on this manuscript.

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Olympic Talent Development Appendix A: Athlete Interview Guide Introduction-background Information 1. How did you first get involved in your sport? * Who got you involvedmom, dad, sibling, friends? * Were you initially successful? 2. Did you play other sports? * Which sports? * At what age did you begin to specialize in your sport? 3. When did you first realize your were talented in your sport? 4. Given your entire athletic career, what was your greatest thrill relative to your sport? 5. Given your entire athletic career, what was your greatest disappointment?

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Mental Attributes and Skills 1. Why do you feel you were successful in your sport? * What are your greatest physical attributes? * What are your greatest psychological attributes? 2. You identified the psychological attributes of X, Y and Z as being critical to your sport success and your survey responses showed that A, B and C were psychological strengths. * Did you always have these attributes or did you acquire them over time? - Address each attribute (e.g., confidence) * Was anyone influential in helping you develop psychologically? Who? - Coach, parents, teammates? - How were they influential? 3. Throughout your career, how did you deal with setbacks and disappointments? What did you do to stay motivated? 4. Throughout your career, how did you deal with all the success you achieved? Was their extra pressure and, if so, how did you deal with it?

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Lets talk about your sports career in three time periodsthe early years (when you first got involved in the activity), the middle years (when you first got pretty serious about the sport and engaged in systematic long-term training) and your elite years (when you became World class). The Early Years 1. Who was primarily responsible for getting you involved? 2. Why did you participate? What did you like about the sport? 3. Were you involved in other activities? * work? * hobbies? *school clubs, etc. 4. Throughout your career how would you characterize your parents involvement? Reflecting back, what specifically did they do or say that helped you develop athletically? 5. What was your parents focus on (winning, fun, development)? 6. Can you recall anything your parents did to influence your mental development during this time period? 7. What about your coach (coaches)? What were they like? 8. What was your coachs focus on (winning, fun, development)? 9. Can you recall anything your coaches did to influence your mental development during this time period? Reflecting back, what specifically did they do or say that helped you develop?

10. Did any other events or individuals influence your mental development as an athlete during this time period? The Middle Years 1. When was this time period for you and what was it like? 2. Why did you keep participating? What did you like about the sport?

Olympic Talent Development 3. Were you involved in other activities? * work? * hobbies? *school clubs, etc. 4. Throughout your career how would you characterize your parents involvement? Reflecting back, what specifically did they do or say that helped you develop athletically? 5. What was your parents focus on (winning, fun, development)? 6. Can you recall anything your parents did to influence your mental development during this time period? 7. What about your coach (coaches)? What were they like? 8. What was your coachs focus on (winning, fun, development)? 9. Can you recall anything your coaches did to influence your mental development during this time period? Reflecting back, what specifically did they do or say that helped you develop?

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10. Did any other events or individuals influence your mental development as an athlete during this time period?

The Elite Years 1. When was this time period for you and what was it like? 2. Why did you keep participating? What did you like about the sport? 3. Were you involved in other activities? * work? * hobbies? *school clubs, etc. 4. Throughout your career how would you characterize your parents involvement? Reflecting back, what specifically did they do or say that helped you develop athletically? 5. What was your parents focus on (winning, fun, development)?

Olympic Talent Development 6. Can you recall anything your parents did to influence your mental development during this time period? 7. What about your coach (coaches)? What were they like? 8. What was your coachs focus on (winning, fun, development)? 9. Can you recall anything your coaches did to influence your mental development during this time period? Reflecting back, what specifically did they do or say that helped you develop?

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10. Did any other events or individuals influence your mental development as an athlete during this time period?

Final Thoughts 1. What has been the hardest things about achieving the athletic success you have? 2. If you had the opportunity to make recommendations to talent athletes who want to achieve what you have, what would you suggest?

Olympic Talent Development Appendix B: Coach Interview Guide Introduction-background Information 1. When did you first meet athlete X? * What was he or she like? * What do you remember about him or her? 2. How long did you coach him or her? 3. When did you first realize this athlete was talented? 4. Given your entire coaching career, what was your greatest thrill relative to working with this athlete? 5. Given your entire coaching career, what was your greatest disappointment relative to working with this athlete? Mental Attributes and Skills 5. Why do you feel Athlete X was so successful in his or her sport? * What were his or her greatest physical attributes? * What were his or her greatest psychological attributes?

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6. You identified the psychological attributes of X, Y and Z as being critical to Athlete Xs sport success. * Did he or she always have these attributes or did he or she acquire them over time? - Address each attribute (e.g., confidence) * Did you do anything to influence his or her psychological development? * Was anyone influential in helping Athlete X develop psychologically? Who? - Other coaches, parents, teammates? - How were they influential? Lets talk about Athlete Xs sports career in three time periodsthe early years (when he or she first got involved in the activity), the middle years (when he or she first got pretty serious about the sport and engaged in systematic long-term training), and his or her elite years (when he or she became World class).

Olympic Talent Development The Early Years 1. What was he or she like as an athlete? * physically (gifted, average, late bloomer?) * psychologically? 2. What did you think attracted them to the sport? 3. How would you characterize his or her parents involvement? 4. What was Athlete Xs parents focus on (winning, fun, development)? 5. Can you recall anything his or her parents did to influence Athlete Xs mental development during this time period? 7. What about your coaching? How did you coach him or her? 8. What was your focus on (winning, fun, development)? 9. How would you describe your relationship with Athlete X during this time period? 10. Can you recall anything you did to influence his or her mental development during this time period? 11. Did any other events or individuals influence his or her mental development as an athlete during this time period? The Middle Years 1. What was Athlete X like as an athlete in this time period? * physically (gifted, average, late bloomer?) * psychologically? 2. What did you think kept him or her involved in the sport? 3. How would you characterize his or her parents involvement? 4. What was Athlete Xs parents focus on (winning, fun, development)? 5. Can you recall anything his or her parents did to influence Athlete Xs mental development during this time period? 7. What about your coaching? How did you coach him or her? 8. What was your focus on (winning, fun, development)?

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Olympic Talent Development 9. How would you describe your relationship with Athlete X during this time period? 10. Can you recall anything you did to influence his or her mental development during this time period? 11. Did any other events or individuals influence his or her mental development as an athlete during this time period? The Elite Years 1. What was Athlete X like as an athlete in this time period? * physically (gifted, average, late bloomer?) * psychologically? 2. What did you think kept him or her involved in the sport? 3. How would you characterize his or her parents involvement? 4. What was Athlete Xs parents focus on (winning, fun, development)? 5. Can you recall anything his or her parents did to influence Athlete Xs mental development during this time period? 7. What about your coaching? How did you coach him or her? 8. What was your focus on (winning, fun, development)? 9. How would you describe your relationship with Athlete X during this time period? 10. Can you recall anything you did to influence his or her mental development during this time period? 11. Did any other events or individuals influence his or her mental development as an athlete during this time period?

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Olympic Talent Development Appendix C: Parent/Guardian/Significant Other Interview Guide Introduction-background Information 1. When did you first meet athlete X (if not parent)? * What was he or she like? * What do you remember about him or her? 2. Who has been most involved in Athlete Xs athletic career over the years? 3. When did you first realize X was talented? 4. What was your greatest thrill relative to being athletically involved with X? 5. What was your greatest disappointment relative to being involved with X? Mental Attributes and Skills 7. Why do you feel Athlete X was so successful in his or her sport? * What were his or her greatest physical attributes? * What were his or her greatest psychological attributes?

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8. You identified the psychological attributes of X, Y and Z as being critical to Athlete Xs sport success. * Did he or she always have these attributes or did he or she acquire them over time? - Address each attribute (e.g., confidence) * Did you do anything to influence his or her psychological development? * Was anyone influential in helping Athlete X develop psychologically? Who? - Other coaches, parents, teammates? - How were they influential? Lets talk about Athlete Xs sports career in three time periodsthe early years (when he or she first got involved in the activity), the middle years (when he or she first got pretty serious about the sport and engaged in systematic long-term training) and his or her elite years (when he or she became World class).

Olympic Talent Development The Early Years 1. What was he or she like as an athlete? * physically (gifted, average, late bloomer?) * psychologically? 2. What did you think attracted them to the sport? 3. How would you characterize his or her coaches in this time period? 4. What was Athlete Xs coachs focus on (winning, fun, development)? 5. Can you recall anything his or her coaches did to influence Athlete Xs mental development during this time period? 7. What about your parenting? How were you involved in his or her sports? 8. What was your focus on (winning, fun, development)? 9. How would you describe your relationship with Athlete X during this time period? 10. Can you recall anything you did to influence his or her mental development during this time period? 11. Did any other events or individuals influence his or her mental development as an athlete during this time period? The Middle Years .1. What was he or she like as an athlete? * physically (gifted, average, late bloomer?) * psychologically? 2. What did you think kept X involved in the sport? 3. How would you characterize his or her coaches in this time period? 4. What was Athlete Xs coachs focus on (winning, fun, development)? 5. Can you recall anything his or her coaches did to influence Athlete Xs mental development during this time period? 7. What about your parenting? How were you involved in his or her sports? 8. What was your focus on (winning, fun, development)?

117

Olympic Talent Development 9. How would you describe your relationship with Athlete X during this time period? 10. Can you recall anything you did to influence his or her mental development during this time period? 11. Did any other events or individuals influence his or her mental development as an athlete during this time period? The Elit Years 1. What was he or she like as an athlete? * physically (gifted, average, late bloomer?) * psychologically? 2. What did you think kept X involved in the sport? 3. How would you characterize his or her coaches in this time period? 4. What was Athlete Xs coachs focus on (winning, fun, development)? 5. Can you recall anything his or her coaches did to influence Athlete Xs mental development during this time period? 7. What about your parenting? How were you involved in his or her sports? 8. What was your focus on (winning, fun, development)? 9. How would you describe your relationship with Athlete X during this time period? 10. Can you recall anything you did to influence his or her mental development during this time period? 11. Did any other events or individuals influence his or her mental development as an athlete during this time period?

118

Olympic Talent Development Appendix D: Quantitative Athlete Assessments

119

PART I: BACKGROUND INFORMATION


Name ______________________________________ Age _____ Sex: ___Male ___Female

Race: ____ African American ____ Latino American

____ Asian American ____ Native American

____ European American ____ Other (please specify) ________

1. What sport/event(s) did you compete in at the Olympic level (list years)? ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ 2. What was the outcome of your competitive experience (i.e., gold medal, 10th place, defeated in first round, etc.)? Please list year and event as well. ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ 3. Counting this year, how many years have you competed in this sport? _______ Years 4. How many years have you competed Internationally? _______ Years 5. Have you ever competed in a World Championship? _____ Yes _____ No If yes when? _________________________________________________________ 6. Have you been a World Champion in this sport or event? _____ Yes _____ No If yes when? _________________________________________________________ 7. Have you ever competed in the US National Championships? _____ Yes _____ No If yes when? _________________________________________________________ 8. Have you been a National Champion in this sport or event? _____ Yes _____ No If yes when? _________________________________________________________ 9. When do you feel was the peak of your athletic career? _______________________________

Olympic Talent Development Part II: Sport Anxiety Scale

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Directions: A number of statements, which athletes have used to describe their thoughts and feelings before or during competition are listed below. Think back to the prime of your career, read each statement, and circle the appropriate number to the right of the statement to indicate how you usually felt prior to or during competition. Some athletes feel they should not admit to feelings of nervousness or worry, but such reactions are actually quite common even among professional athletes. To help us better understand reactions to competition, please share what you feel were your true reactions. There are, therefore, no right or wrong answers. Do not spend too much time on any one statement, but choose the answer that describes how you feel you commonly reacted. Not at Some- Moderately Very All what So Much So 1 2 3 4 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

1. I feel nervous. 2. During competition, I find myself thinking about unrelated things. 3. I have self-doubts. 4. My body feels tense. 5. I am concerned that I may not do as well in competition as I could. 6. My mind wanders during sport competition. 7. While performing, I often do not pay attention to what's going on. 8. I feel tense in the stomach. 9. Thoughts of doing poorly interfere with my concentration during competition. 10. I'm concerned about choking under pressure. 11. My heart races. 12. I feel my stomach sinking. 13. I'm concerned about performing poorly. 14. I have lapses in concentration because of nervousness.

15. I sometimes find myself trembling before or during a competitive event. 1 16. I'm worried about reaching my goal. 17. My body feels tight. 18. I'm concerned that others will be disappointed with my performances. 19. My stomach gets upset before or during competition. 20. I'm concerned I won't be able to concentrate. 21. My heart pounds before competition. 1 1 1 1 1 1

Olympic Talent Development Part III: Personal Views Survey - III

121

Directions: Think back to the prime of your career (when you performed at your consistent best), read each statement and circle the appropriate number to the right of the statement to indicate how true the statement is for you. There are no right or wrong answers. This is not a test. Please answer each question in a way that best describes your life situation at the prime of your career.
[Copyright 1994, by the Hardiness Institute, Inc.] Not at All True A Little True Mostly Completely True True

In General... 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Most of my time gets spent doing things that are worthwhile Planning ahead can help avoid most future problems No matter how hard I try, my efforts usually accomplish nothing I don't like to make changes in my everyday schedule I am not equipped to handle the "curve balls" that life sends my way. By working hard, you can always achieve your goals Most of what happens in life is just meant to be When I make plans, I am certain I can make them work

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

Working hard doesn't matter, since only the bosses profit by it 0

10. It's exciting to learn something about myself 11. I really look forward to my work 12. If I'm working on a difficult task, I know when to seek help 13. I won't answer a question until I'm really sure I understand it 14. I like a lot of variety in my work 15. Most of the time, people listen carefully to what I have to say 16. Thinking of yourself as a free person just leads to frustration 17. Trying your best at work usually pays off in the end 18. My mistakes are usually very difficult to correct 19. It bothers me when my daily routine gets interrupted 20. Most good athletes and leaders are born, not made 21. I often wake up eager to take on life wherever it left off 22. Lots of time, I really don't know my own mind 23. I sometimes miss the importance of things until it's too late. 24. I try to make the best out of most stressful circumstances. 25. I can't do much to prevent it if someone wants to harm me

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In General... 26. Changes in routine are interesting to me 27. Most days, life is really interesting and exciting for me 28. It's hard to imagine anyone getting excited about working 29. What happens to me tomorrow depends on what I do today 30. I try to learn something new through reading or some formal instruction.

Not at All True

A Little True

Mostly Completely True True

0 0 0 0 0

1 1 1 1 1

2 2 2 2 2

3 3 3 3 3

Part IV: Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale


Directions: Think back to the prime of your career, read each statement, and using the scale below, indicate to what extent you agree with each of the following statements by circling the corresponding number. There are no right or wrong answers; we are simply interested in YOUR opinion.

1. My parents set very high standards for me. 2. Organization is very important to me. 3. As a child, I was punished for doing things less than perfect. 4. If I do not set the highest standards for myself, I am likely to end up a second-rate person. 5. My parents never tried to understand my mistakes. 6. It is important to me that I be thoroughly competent in everything I do. 7. I am a neat person. 8. I try to be an organized person. 9. If I fail at work/ school, I am a failure as a person. 10. I should be upset if I make a mistake. 11. My parents wanted me to be the best at everything. 12. I set higher goals than most people.

strongly disagree 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

strongly agree 4 5 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

13. If someone does a task at work/ school better than I do, then I feel like I failed the whole task. 14. If I fail partly, it is as bad as being a complete failure. 15. Only outstanding performance is good enough in my family. 16. I am very good at focusing my efforts on attaining a goal. 17. Even when I do something very carefully, I often feel that it is not quite right. 18. I hate being less than the best at things. 19. I have extremely high goals. 20. My parents have expected excellence from me. 21. People will probably think less of me if I make a mistake. 22. I never felt like I could meet my parents' expectations. 23. If I do not do as well as other people, it means I am an inferior human being.

24. Other people seem to accept lower standards from themselves than I do. 1

Olympic Talent Development strongly disagree 25. If I do not do well all the time, people will not respect me. 26. My parents have always had higher expectations for my future than I have. 27. I try to be a neat person. 28. I usually have doubts about the simple everyday things I do. 29. Neatness is very important to me. 30. I expect higher performance in my daily tasks than most people. 31. I am an organized person. 32. I tend to get behind in my work because I repeat things over and over. 33. It takes me a long time to do something "right". 34. The fewer mistakes I make, the more people will like me. 35. I never felt like I could meet my parents' standards. 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

124 strongly agree 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

Olympic Talent Development Part V: The Sport Motivational Scale


Directions: Think back to the prime of your career, read each statement, and circle the appropriate number to the right of the statement to indicate how you usually felt practicing your sport.

125

WHY DO YOU PRACTICE YOUR SPORT?


Does not correspond at all Corresponds CorrespondsCorresponds Corresponds a little moderately a lot exactly

1. For the pleasure I feel in living exciting experiences. 2. For the pleasure it gives me to know more about the sport that I practice.

1 1

2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6

7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7

3. I used to have good reasons for doing sport, but now I am asking myself if I should continue doing it. 1 4. For the pleasure of discovering new training techniques. 5. I dont know anymore; I have the impression of being incapable of succeeding in this sport. 6. Because it allows me to be well regarded by people that I know. 1 1 1

7. Because, in my opinion, it is one of the best ways to meet people. 1 8. Because I feel a lot of personal satisfaction while mastering certain difficult training techniques. 9. Because it is absolutely necessary to do sports if one wants to be in shape. 10. For the prestige of being an athlete. 11. Because it is one of the best ways I have chosen to develop other aspects of myself. 1 1 1 1

12. For the pleasure I feel while improving some of my weak points. 1 13. For the excitement I feel when I am really involved in the activity. 14. Because I must do sports to feel good myself. 15. For the satisfaction I experience while I am perfecting my abilities. 16. Because people around me think it is important to be in shape. 17. Because it is a good way to learn lots of things which could be useful to me in other areas of my life. 18. For the intense emotions I feel doing a sport that I like. 19. It is not clear to me anymore; I dont really think my place is in sport. 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

Olympic Talent Development WHY DO YOU PRACTICE YOUR SPORT ?


Does not correspond at all

126

Corresponds CorrespondsCorresponds Corresponds a little moderately a lot exactly

20. For the pleasure that I feel while executing certain difficult movements. 21. Because I would feel bad if I was not taking time to do it. 22. To show others how good I am at my sport. 23. For the pleasure that I feel while learning training techniques that I have never tried before. 24. Because it is one of the best ways to maintain good relationships with my friends. 25. Because I like the feeling of being totally immersed in the activity. 26. Because I must do sports regularly. 27. For the pleasure of discovering new performance strategies. 28. I often ask myself; I cant seem to achieve the goals I set for myself.

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6

7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7

Olympic Talent Development Part VI: The Athletic Coping Skills Inventory

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Directions: A number of statements that athletes have used to describe their experiences are given below. Think back to the prime of your career, please read each statement carefully, and then recall as accurately as possible how often you experienced the same thing. There are no right or wrong answers. Do not spend too much time on any one statement. Please circle how often you have these experiences when playing sports. 1. On a daily or weekly basis, I set very specific goals for myself that guide what I do. Almost Never Sometimes Often Almost Always 2. I get the most out of my talent and skills. Almost Never Sometimes

Often

Almost Always

3. When a coach or manager tells me how to correct a mistake I've made, I tend to take it personally and feel upset. Almost Never Sometimes Often Almost Always 4. When I'm playing sports, I can focus my attention and block out distractions. Almost Never Sometimes Often Almost Always 5. I remain positive and enthusiastic during competition, no matter how badly things are going. Almost Never Sometimes Often Almost Always 6. I tend to play better under pressure because I think more clearly. Almost Never Sometimes Often Almost Always 7. I worry quite a bit about what others think of my performance. Almost Never Sometimes Often Almost Always 8. I tend to do lots of planning about how to reach my goals. Almost Never Sometimes Often 9. I feel confident that I will play well. Almost Never Sometimes

Almost Always

Often

Almost Always

10. When a coach or manager criticizes me, I become upset rather than helped. Almost Never Sometimes Often Almost Always 11. It is easy for me to keep distracting thoughts from interfering with something I am watching or listening to. Almost Never Sometimes Often Almost Always 12. I put a lot of pressure on myself by worrying about how I will perform. Almost Never Sometimes Often Almost Always

Olympic Talent Development 13. I set my own performance goals for each practice. Almost Never Sometimes Often

128

Almost Always

14. I don't have to be pushed to practice or play hard; I give 100%. Almost Never Sometimes Often Almost Always 15. If a coach criticizes or yells at me, I correct the mistake without getting upset about it. Almost Never Sometimes Often Almost Always 16. I handle unexpected situations in my sport very well. Almost Never Sometimes Often

Almost Always

17. When things are going badly, I tell myself to keep calm, and this works for me. Almost Never Sometimes Often Almost Always 18. The more pressure there is during a game, the more I enjoy it. Almost Never Sometimes Often Almost Always 19. While competing, I worry about making mistakes or failing to come through. Almost Never Sometimes Often Almost Always 20. I have my own game plan worked out in my head long before the game begins. Almost Never Sometimes Often Almost Always 21. When I feel myself getting too tense, I can quickly relax my body and calm myself. Almost Never Sometimes Often Almost Always 22. To me, pressure situations are challenges that I welcome. Almost Never Sometimes Often

Almost Always

23. I think about and imagine what will happen if I fail or screw up. Almost Never Sometimes Often Almost Always 24. I maintain emotional control regardless of how things are going for me. Almost Never Sometimes Often Almost Always 25. It is easy for me to direct my attention and focus on a single object or person. Almost Never Sometimes Often Almost Always 26. When I fail to reach my goals, it makes me try even harder. Almost Never Sometimes Often Almost Always 27. I improve my skills by listening carefully to advice and instruction from coaches and managers. Almost Never Sometimes Often Almost Always 28. I make fewer mistakes when the pressure is on because I concentrate better. Almost Never Sometimes Often Almost Always

Olympic Talent Development Part VII: Test of Performance Strategies

129

Directions: Each of the following items describes a specific situation that you may have encountered in your training and competition. Think back to the prime of your career, read each statement, and circle the appropriate number to the right of the statement to indicate how you usually felt.
Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always

1. I set realistic but challenging goals for practice. 2. I say things to myself to help my practice performance. 3. During practice, I visualize successful past performances. 4. My attention wanders while I am training. 5. I practice using relaxation techniques at workouts. 6. I practice a way to relax. 7. During competition, I set specific result goals for myself. 8. When the pressure is on at competitions, I know how to relax. 9. My self-talk during competition is negative. 10. During practice, I don't think about performing much I just let it happen. 11. I perform at competitions without consciously thinking about it. 12. I rehearse my performance in my mind before practice. 13. I can raise my energy level at competitions when necessary. 14. During competition, I have thoughts of failure. 15. I use practice time to work on my relaxation technique. 16. I manage my self-talk effectively during practice. 17. I am able to relax if I get too nervous at a competition. 18. I visualize my competition going exactly the way I want it to go. 19. I am able to control distracting thoughts when I am training.

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

20. I get frustrated and emotionally upset when practice does not go well. 1 21. I have specific cue words or phrases that I say to myself to help my performance during competition. 22. I evaluate whether I achieve MY competition goals. 23. During practice, MY movements and skills just seem to flow naturally from one to another. 24. When I make a mistake in competition, I have trouble getting my concentration back on track. 1 1 1 1

Olympic Talent Development

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Never

Rarely Sometimes Often

Always

25. When I need to, I can relax myself at competitions to get ready to perform. 26. I set very specific goals for competition. 27. I relax myself at practice to get ready. 28. I psych myself up at competitions to get ready to perform. 29. At practice, I can allow the whole skill or movement to happen naturally without concentrating on each part of the skill. 30. During competition, I perform on 'automatic pilot'. 31. When something upsets me during a competition, my performance suffers. 32. I keep my thoughts positive during competitions. 33. I say things to myself to help my competitive performance. 34. At competitions, I rehearse the feel of my performance in my imagination. 35. I practice a way to energize myself. 36. I manage my self-talk effectively during competition. 37. I set goals to help me use practice time effectively. 38. I have trouble energizing myself if I feel sluggish during practice. 39. When things are going poorly in practice, I stay in control of myself emotionally. 40. I do what needs to be done to get psyched up for competitions. 41. During competition, I don't think about performing much - I just let it happen. 42. At practice, when I visualize my performance, I imagine what it will feel like. 43. I find it difficult to relax when I am too tense at competitions. 44. I have difficulty increasing my energy level during workouts. 45. During practice, I focus my attention effectively. 46. I set personal performance goals for a competition. 47. I motivate myself to train through positive self-talk. 48. During practice, sessions I just seem to be in a flow. 49. I practice energizing myself during training sessions.

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

Olympic Talent Development


Never

131
Rarely Sometimes Often Always

50. I have trouble maintaining my concentration during long practices. 51. I talk positively to myself to get the most out of practice. 52. I can increase my energy to just the right level for competitions. 53. I have very specific goals for practice. 54. During competition, I play/perform instinctively with little conscious effort. 55. I imagine my competitive routine before I do it at a competition. 56. I imagine screwing up during a competition. 57. I talk positively to myself to get the most out of competitions. 58. I don't set goals for practices, I just go out and do it. 59. I rehearse my performance in my mind and at competitions. 60. I have trouble controlling my emotions when things are not going well at practice. 61. When I perform poorly in practice, I lose my focus. 62. My emotions keep me from performing my best at competitions. 63. My emotions get out of control under the pressure of competition. 64. At practice, when I visualize my performance, I imagine watching myself as if on a video replay.

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

Olympic Talent Development Part VIII: The Future Scale

132

Directions: Think back to the prime of your career, read each statement carefully, and circle the appropriate number to the right of the statement to indicate how you usually felt.
1 Definitely False 2 Mostly False 3 Somewhat False 4 Slightly False 5 Slightly True 6 Somewhat True 7 Mostly True 8 Definitely True

1. I can think of many ways to get out of a jam. 2. I energetically pursue my goals. 3. I feel tired most of the time. 4. There are lots of ways around any problem. 5. I am easily downed in an argument. 6. I can think of many ways to get the things in life that are important to me. 7. I worry about my health. 8. Even when others get discouraged, I know I can find a way to solve the problem. 9. My past experiences have prepared me well for my future. 10. Ive been pretty successful in life. 11. I usually find myself worrying about something. 12. I meet the goals that I set for myself.

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6

7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7

8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8

Olympic Talent Development Part IX: Life Orientation Test Revised (LOT-R)

133

Directions: Think back to the prime of your career, read each statement, and circle the appropriate number to the right of the statement to indicate how you usually felt. There are no right or wrong answers. We are simply interested in YOUR opinion. 1
Strongly Disagree

2
Disagree

3
Neither Agree or Disagree

4
Agree

5
Strongly Agree

1. In uncertain times, I usually expect the best. 2. Its easy for me to relax. 3. If something can go wrong for me it will. 4. Im always optimistic about my future. 5. I enjoy my friends a lot. 6. It is important for me to keep busy. 7. I hardly ever expect things to go my way. 8. I dont get upset too easily. 9. I rarely count on good things happening to me. 10. Overall, I expect more good things to happen to me than bad.

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5