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Toward an explanation of continuous improvement in expert athletes: The role of consciousness in deliberate practice

Toner, John; Moran, Aidan

Authors

Dr John Toner John.Toner@hull.ac.uk
Lecturer in Sports Coaching and Performance

Aidan Moran

Abstract

In a body of research spanning three decades, Janet Starkes and her colleagues have produced a wealth of empirical evidence on the importance of deliberate practice in the development of elite performers. Within this corpus of work, a number of studies have alluded to the important role that self-focused attention plays in helping skilled athletes to refine inefficient movements during deliberate practice. Unfortunately, these studies have largely under-represented the role that somatic awareness plays in facilitating further improvement amongst sports performers who have already achieved elite status. In seeking to address this issue of continuous improvement in elite athletes, the current paper marshals evidence to suggest that reflective somatic awareness plays an important role in the practice activities of elite performers. In particular, we argue that such awareness enables elite athletes to consciously and deliberately improve their movement proficiency. More generally, we propose that Shusterman’s (2008) theory of “somaesthetic awareness” offers expertise researchers a potentially fruitful theoretical framework for future research on skill advancement at the elite level of sport.

Publication Date 2015
Journal International journal of sport psychology
Print ISSN 0047-0767
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 46
Issue 6
Pages 666-675
Institution Citation Toner, J., & Moran, A. (2015). Toward an explanation of continuous improvement in expert athletes: The role of consciousness in deliberate practice. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 46(6), 666-675. https://doi.org/10.7352/IJSP.2015.46.666
DOI https://doi.org/10.7352/IJSP.2015.46.666
Keywords Consciousness; Expert athletes; Motor performance
Publisher URL http://www.ijsp-online.com/abstract/view/46/666
Copyright Statement ©2017 University of Hull
Additional Information This is a copy of an article accepted for publication in International journal of sport psychology, 2015, v.46 issue 6.

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