A one-year follow-up of the cognitive and psycho-behavioural skills in artistic gymnastics

Felien Laureys, Dave Collins, Frederik J.a. Deconinck, Pieter Vansteenkiste, Matthieu Lenoir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

A good set of cognitive and psycho-behavioural skills are beneficial for young athletes to overcome and benefit from developmental challenges. Unfortunately, there is still a dearth of knowledge on how both these cognitive (i.e., executive functions; EF) and psycho-behavioural (i.e., psychological characteristics of developing excellence; PCDE) skills develop in youth athletes. Especially for athletes in early specialisation sports such as artistic gymnastics, the early EF and PCDE development might be important to be able to cope with the pressure and challenges that comes with a transition to the next stage. In the current study, artistic gymnasts between 9 and 22 years old were tested twice with a 12-month interval to investigate the changes in EF and PCDE. Results showed that EF developed within the youngest stage, but plateaued at the later stages. Most PCDE did not seem to change over time within each stage. Furthermore, the transition to a new stage does not seem to coincide with an increased improvement of PCDE. However, with a case study approach in the oldest stages, still inter-individual differences in EF and PCDE scores over time were observed. This study shows that EF and PCDE develop over time, albeit in a non-linear way, and along a variety of developmental trajectories.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102375
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Early online date23 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • talent development
  • executive functions
  • psychological characteristics
  • adolescents
  • artistic gymnasts


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