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Reflection is considered a key factor in expert learning and refers to the extent to which individuals are able to appraise what they have learned and to integrate these experiences into future actions, thereby maximizing performance improvements. We assessed the relation between self-reported reflection at baseline and attainment (i.e., international vs. national level) 2.5 years later in 52 elite youth athletes. A Mann-Whitney U test showed that those who became senior internationals scored highest on reflection during their junior years compared with those who only attained senior national status. More specifically, athletes who made the transition from junior national to senior international level had higher reflection scores than their peers who did not reach international status and had similar scores to those who were internationals as juniors. These results emphasize the value of reflection in elite youth athletes to attaining senior international status later in development.
Jonker, Elferink-Gemser, de Roos, and Visscher are with the Center for Human Movement Sciences, Medical Center Gronigen, University of Gronigen, Gronigen, The Netherlands.