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Jason Berry, Bruce Abernethy and Jean Côté

The developmental histories of 32 players in the Australian Football League (AFL), independently classified as either expert or less skilled in their perceptual and decision-making skills, were collected through a structured interview process and their year-on-year involvement in structured and deliberate play activities retrospectively determined. Despite being drawn from the same elite level of competition, the expert decision-makers differed from the less skilled in having accrued, during their developing years, more hours of experience in structured activities of all types, in structured activities in invasion-type sports, in invasion-type deliberate play, and in invasion activities from sports other than Australian football. Accumulated hours invested in invasion-type activities differentiated between the groups, suggesting that it is the amount of invasion-type activity that is experienced and not necessarily intent (skill development or fun) or specificity that facilitates the development of perceptual and decision-making expertise in this team sport.

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David I. Anderson and Anthony M. Mayo

This paper examines the costs and benefits of early specialization in sport from a skill acquisition perspective. The focus is on whether early specialization in a single sport is the best way to facilitate the acquisition of skill in that sport. The paper is organized relative to the two major conceptual frameworks that have motivated much of the discussion about early specialization in sport: the theory of deliberate practice and the Developmental Model of Sport Participation. Our analysis reveals that while early specialization in sport is one way to reach elite status, it is not the only way. Considerable evidence shows that many elite athletes specialized in their sport late, following diversified experiences with other sports. These findings raise a number of exciting questions about the long-term development of skill in sport.

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Laura St. Germain, Amanda M. Rymal and David J. Hancock

it to be a critical part of elite performance—though the study did not support the 10,000-hour rule. Côté ( 1999 ) added to the literature on skilled performance with the concept of deliberate play (i.e., child-led sport activities for the purpose of enjoyment, but which improved sport skills). Côté

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Heather K. Larson, Bradley W. Young, Tara-Leigh F. McHugh and Wendy M. Rodgers

differ primarily in the number of sports engaged in and the ratio of deliberate practice to deliberate play ( Côté & Fraser-Thomas, 2007 ). Deliberate practice is described as an effortful and highly structured activity and low in inherent enjoyment, with the explicit goal of improved performance

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Shelby Waldron, J.D. DeFreese, Brian Pietrosimone, Johna Register-Mihalik and Nikki Barczak

). The pathways differ in their balance of deliberate play (i.e., inherently enjoyable activities often involving adapted rules and loose monitoring) and deliberate practice (i.e., effortful training designed to develop task-specific skills, which is not inherently enjoyable). Early specialization is

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Paul Kinnerk, Stephen Harvey, Philip Kearney, Ciaran MacDonncha and Mark Lyons

(Development Model of Sport Participation [ Baker & Côté, 2006 ]; Composite Youth Development Model [ Lloyd et al., 2015 ]) emphasise that an athlete’s experience should change through development; specifically a shift from primarily deliberate play ( Côté, 1999 ) to primarily deliberate practice ( Ericsson

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Sergio Lara-Bercial, A.J. Rankin-Wright, Jason Tee, Fieke Rongen, Tom Mitchell, Mike Ashford, David Piggott and Kevin Till

of the holistic nature of physical literacy and the significance of giving attention to the measurement of physical performance. Clear implications are provided to practitioners; experiencing a range activities in different contexts through both deliberate play and practice, building positive

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Marty K. Baker, Jeffrey A. Graham, Allison Smith and Zachary T. Smith

, playing games to learn, deliberate play, deliberate practice, drills, coaching tips, as well as guiding program philosophies. The analysis was not limited to these factors, as elements of parental involvement, codes of conduct, or the way the game was structured was featured in some of the programs. In

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A. Mark Williams and Bradley Fawver

), 93 – 104 . PubMed doi:10.1123/jsep.2015-0145 10.1123/jsep.2015-0145 Berry , J. , Abernethy , B. , & Côté , J. ( 2008 ). The contribution of structured activity and deliberate play to the development of expert perceptual and decision-making skill . Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 30

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Caterina Pesce, Ilaria Masci, Rosalba Marchetti, Giuseppe Vannozzi and Mirko Schmidt

16 , 231 – 249 . doi:10.1123/pes.16.3.231 10.1123/pes.16.3.231 Pesce , C. , Masci , C. , Marchetti , R. , Vazou , S. , Sääkslahti , A. , & Tomporowski , P.D. ( 2016 ). Deliberate play jointly benefits motor and cognitive development: Direct and indirect effects of cognitive stimulation