“Knowing That This Is My Place Is Very Positive”: The Case of a Swedish Table Tennis Club

in Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 School of Welfare, Health and Sport, Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden
  • | 2 Swedish Tennis Association, Swedish Table Tennis Association, Båstad, Sweden
  • | 3 Department of Sport Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
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This case study is guided by the holistic ecological approach and aimed at (a) providing a holistic description of an athletic talent development environment using a table tennis club in Sweden as a case study and (b) examining the factors perceived as influential to the effectiveness of the club’s talent development. The holistic ecological approach’s two working models informed the data collection (through interviews, observation, and analysis of documents) and were subsequently transformed into empirical models, acting as a summary of the case. Findings revealed that the environment’s success in talent development can be seen as an outcome of the following key features: (a) flexible and supportive training groups, (b) opportunities to learn from senior elite athletes, (c) support through the club and sport-friendly schools, (d) support of the development of psychosocial skills, (e) regular and intensive training, (f) focus on long-term development and athletes as whole persons, (g) strong and coherent organizational culture centered around the basic assumption, “we are a community of committed members,” and (h) integrated efforts among the club and sport-friendly schools to support athletes’ development. This case study can inform other athletic talent development environments on how to optimize talent development processes.

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