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The pathway to the top Key factors and influences- Huxley 2017.pdf

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See discussions, stats, and author profiles for this publication at:The pathway to the top: Key factors and influences in the development ofAustralian Olympic and World Championship Track and Field athletesArticleinInternational Journal of Sports Science & Coaching · April 2017DOI: 10.1177/1747954117694738CITATIONS23READS9703 authors:Some of the authors of this publication are also working on these related projects:Developing Decision-Making and Anticipation in Youth FootballView projectMentoring project, University of SydneyView projectDianne J HuxleyAustralian Catholic University Sydney NSW3PUBLICATIONS88CITATIONSSEE PROFILEDonna O'ConnorThe University of Sydney69PUBLICATIONS1,149CITATIONSSEE PROFILEPaul LarkinVictoria University Melbourne62PUBLICATIONS747CITATIONSSEE PROFILEAll content following this page was uploaded byPaul Larkinon 31 January 2018.The user has requested enhancement of the downloaded file.
Original researchThe pathway to the top: Key factorsand influences in the developmentof Australian Olympic and WorldChampionship Track and Field athletesDianne J Huxley, Donna O’Connor and Paul LarkinAbstractGiven the many benefits of international sporting success understanding the development and long-term sustainability ofan elite sporting career have become an important pursuit worldwide. Despite decades of research little is known aboutthe development of elite senior Australian Track and Field athletes, therefore this study aimed to understand the majorinfluences contributing to their development and success. A Track and Field Athlete Development questionnaire wasused to collect data from 73 Olympic and World Championship level athletes. Analysis indicated athletes progressed tothe elite level via six different pathways; however, the majority follows a linear pathway from junior to elite senior athlete.Further, results demonstrated the key influencing factors during development included later specialization, involvementin other sports during adolescence and strong social support. In addition, growing up in a major city and completinga University degree were also common features. Overall the study provides an insight into the development andsuccess of Australian Track and Field athletes who competed at the Olympic Games or World Championships between1956 and 2013.KeywordsElite development, Track & Field, competition pathways, milestonesIntroductionWiththeincreasinglevelofprofessionalisminsport worldwide and its ensuing benefits (e.g. economic,political,enhancementofnationalpride),manyGovernments invest vast resources in the pursuit ofsporting success.1As a result, there is a growing interestby leading sporting nations to understand long termand sustainable talent development.2–4In Australia,there is a strong connection between the sense of pat-riotism and sporting success at the international level.

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