Research on the developmental trajectories of performers increasingly focuses on the nature of challenge in talent development. This study sought to investigate the interaction of challenge, emotional disruption and impactful feedback in the talent pathway. Employing a pre-post design, a group of eight junior international rugby league players were interviewed prior to and following their senior transitional season. Data were collected through two semi structured interviews and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Participants progressed through a pathway that was perceived to be devoid of challenge until the start of the senior transition. At this stage, however, frequent emotional disturbances were experienced, associated with a greater personal weighting of the feedback provided. Findings suggest that events and feedback that were emotionally laden were a critical element of their developmental experience.
LaySummary: This study explores the interaction of challenge, emotional disruption and feedback for athletes transitioning to the elite level. The emotional ‘highs and lows’ are identified as critical to overall development, rather than something to be ‘coped with’. We suggest that the athlete experience should be a focal point for practice.
|Journal||Journal of Applied Sport Psychology|
|Early online date||2 Apr 2021|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 2 Apr 2021|
- elite performance
- psychology support