Sarkar,_Fletcher,_&_Brown_(2015)_Final_Accepted_Manuscript.pdf (275.3 kB)

What doesn't kill me...: adversity-related experiences are vital in the development of superior Olympic performance

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journal contribution
posted on 19.04.2016, 10:56 by Mustafa Sarkar, David Fletcher, Daniel J. Brown
Objectives: Recent research suggests that experiencing some adversity can have beneficial outcomes for human growth and development. The purpose of this paper was to explore the adversities that the world’s best athletes encounter and the perceived role that these experiences play in their psychological and performance development. Design: A qualitative design was employed because detailed information of rich quality was required to better understand adversity-related experiences in the world’s best athletes. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 Olympic gold medalists from a variety of sports. Inductive thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. Results: The findings indicate that the participants encountered a range of sport- and non-sport adversities that they considered were essential for winning their gold medals, including repeated non-selection, significant sporting failure, serious injury, political unrest, and the death of a family member. The participants described the role that these experiences played in their psychological and performance development, specifically focusing on their resultant trauma, motivation, and learning. Conclusions: Adversity-related experiences were deemed to be vital in the psychological and performance development of Olympic champions. In the future, researchers should conduct more in-depth comparative studies of Olympic athletes’ adversity- and growth-related experiences, and draw on existing and alternative theoretical explanations of the growth–performance relationship. For professional practitioners, adversity-related experiences offer potential developmental opportunities if they are carefully and purposely harnessed.

History

School

  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

JOURNAL OF SCIENCE AND MEDICINE IN SPORT

Volume

18

Issue

4

Pages

475 - 479 (5)

Citation

SARKAR, M., FLETCHER, D. and BROWN, D.J., 2015. What doesn't kill me...: adversity-related experiences are vital in the development of superior Olympic performance. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 18 (4), pp. 475 - 479.

Publisher

Elsevier / © Sports Medicine Australia

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date

2015

Notes

This is the accepted version of a paper subsequently published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport [Elsevier / © Sports Medicine Australia]. The definitive version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2014.06.010

ISSN

1440-2440

Language

en

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