An In-depth Study of Former Elite Figure Skaters: I. Introduction to the Project

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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This article introduces a project focused on the sources of sport enjoyment and stress, and the role that significant others have in these experiences. These issues were studied in depth using primarily qualitative interview techniques that were then complemented by quantitative assessments. Study participants were 26 former elite figure skaters who had competed at the national level and were currently coaching. The interviews lasted an average of 2 1/2 hours and yielded over 1,000 transcribed pages. The purpose of this manuscript is to provide an underlying coherency to a series of articles through which this wealth of information will be presented. Information common to all articles and the methodological framework to the entire project are discussed. Details about the talented individuals studied, including descriptive data regarding their development of commitment to their sport, are presented. Consistent with research concerning other talent domains (Bloom, 1985), the findings show a progression from initial casual involvement to intense dedication.

Tara K. Scanlan is with the Department of Kinesiology, 2855 Slichter Hall, UCLA, 405 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024. Kenneth Ravizza is with the Department of Physical Education at California State University, Fullerton, CA 92634. Gary L. Stein is with the Department of Kinesiology at UCLA.

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