Defining “elite” status in sport: from chaos to clarity

McAuley, Alexander B. T. and Baker, Joseph and Kelly, Adam L. (2021) Defining “elite” status in sport: from chaos to clarity. German Journal of Exercise and Sport Research. ISSN 2509-3142

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The past two decades have seen a rapid rise in attention towards talent identification, athlete development and skill acquisition. However, there are important limitations to the evidentiary foundations of this field of research. For instance, variability in describing the performance levels of individuals has made it challenging to draw inferences about inter- and intrapopulation differences. More specifically, recent reviews on high performers in sport have noted considerable variation in how terms such as “elite” are used. This may be particularly concerning for researchers in high-performance disciplines, since they regularly struggle with small sample sizes and rely on research synthesis approaches (i.e. meta-analyses and systematic reviews) to inform evidence-based decisions. In this discussion piece, we (a) highlight issues with the application of current terminology, (b) discuss challenges in conceptualizing an improved framework and (c) provide several recommendations for researchers and practitioners working in this area.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
7 July 2021Accepted
5 August 2021Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: athlete development, categorization, expertise, measurement, talent
Subjects: CAH03 - biological and sport sciences > CAH03-02 - sport and exercise sciences > CAH03-02-01 - sport and exercise sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > Centre for Life and Sport Sciences (C-LASS)
Depositing User: Adam Kelly
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2021 14:14
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 11:36

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