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Thomas A. Haugen, Paul A. Solberg, Carl Foster, Ricardo Morán-Navarro, Felix Breitschädel and Will G. Hopkins

The aim of this study was to quantify peak age and improvements over the preceding years to peak age in elite athletic contestants according to athlete performance level, sex, and discipline. Individual season bests for world-ranked top 100 athletes from 2002 to 2016 (14,937 athletes and 57,049 individual results) were downloaded from the International Association of Athletics Federations’ website. Individual performance trends were generated by fitting a quadratic curve separately to each athlete’s performance and age data using a linear modeling procedure. Mean peak age was typically 25–27 y, but somewhat higher for marathon and male throwers (∼28–29 y). Women reached greater peak age than men in the hurdles and middle- and long-distance running events (mean difference, ±90% CL: 0.6, ±0.3 to 1.9, ±0.3 y: small to moderate). Male throwers had greater peak age than corresponding women (1.3, ±0.3 y: small). Throwers displayed the greatest performance improvements over the 5 y prior to peak age (mean [SD]: 7.0% [2.9%]), clearly ahead of jumpers, long-distance runners, hurdlers, middle-distance runners, and sprinters (3.4, ±0.2% to 5.2, ±0.2%; moderate to large). Similarly, top 10 athletes showed greater improvements than top 11–100 athletes in all events (1.0, ±0.9% to 1.8, ±1.1%; small) except throws. Women improved more than men in all events (0.4, ±0.2% to 2.9, ±0.4%) except sprints. This study provides novel insight on performance development in athletic contestants that are useful for practitioners when setting goals and evaluating strategies for achieving success.

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Paul A. Solberg, Will G. Hopkins, Gøran Paulsen and Thomas A. Haugen

Purpose: To quantify age of peak performance and performance improvements in the years preceding peak age in elite weightlifting and powerlifting athletes using results from powerlifting World Championships in 2003–2017 and weightlifting World Championships and Olympic Games in 1998–2017. Methods: Individual performance trends were derived by fitting a quadratic curve separately to each athlete’s performance and age data. Effects were evaluated using magnitude-based inferences. Results: Peak age (mean [SD]) was 35 (7) y for powerlifters and 26 (3) y for weightlifters, a large most likely substantial difference of 9, ±1 y (mean, 90% confidence limit). Men showed possibly higher peak age than women in weightlifting (0.8, ±0.7 y; small) and a possibly lower peak age in powerlifting (1.3, ±1.8 y; trivial). Peak age of athletes who ever won a medal was very likely less than that of nonmedalists in weightlifting (1.3, ±0.6 y; small), while the difference in powerlifters was trivial but unclear. Five-year improvements prior to peak age were 12% (10%) for powerlifters and 9% (7%) for weightlifters, a small possibly substantial difference (2.9, ±2.1%). Women exhibited possibly greater improvements than men in powerlifting (2.7, ±3.8%; small) and very likely greater in weightlifting (3.5, ±1.6%; small). Medalists possibly improved less than nonmedalists among powerlifters (−1.7, ±2.3%; small), while the difference was likely trivial for weightlifters (2.3, ±1.8%). Conclusion: These novel insights on performance development will be useful for practitioners evaluating strategies for achieving success.

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Carlos E.B. Gonçalves, Luís M.L. Rama and António B. Figueiredo

The theory of deliberate practice postulates that experts are always made, not born. This theory translated to the youth-sport domain means that if athletes want to be high-level performers, they need to deliberately engage in practice during the specialization years, spending time wisely and always focusing on tasks that challenge current performance. Sport organizations in several countries around the world created specialized training centers where selected young talents practice under the supervision of experienced coaches in order to become professional athletes and integrate onto youth national teams. Early specialization and accurate observation by expert coaches or scouts remain the only tools to find a potential excellent athlete among a great number of participants. In the current study, the authors present 2 of the problems raised by talent search and the risks of such a search. Growth and maturation are important concepts to better understand the identification, selection, and development processes of young athletes. However, the literature suggests that sport-promoting strategies are being maintained despite the increased demands in the anthropometric characteristics of professional players and demands of actual professional soccer competitions. On the other hand, identifying biological variables that can predict performance is almost impossible.

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Amy Price, Dave Collins, John Stoszkowski and Shane Pill

sports coaching that has tested knowledge structures in games includes the extensive work of McPherson and Thomas ( 1989 ) and Nevett and French ( 1997 ), in which high level performers show greater flexibility in their sport specific tactical knowledge, and are therefore more capable of planning for

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Frazer Atkinson, Sandra E. Short and Jeffrey Martin

the “belief coaches have in their ability to affect the learning and performance of their athletes” ( Feltz et al., 1999 ; p. 153). Most athletes, particularly high-level performers (e.g., college soccer players), develop efficacy, or confidence, in both their team (i.e., team efficacy) and their

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Thomas Haugen, Gøran Paulsen, Stephen Seiler and Øyvind Sandbakk

when testing in arm cranking, arm cycling, or upper-body poling. Systematic reports of V ˙ O 2 peak data from contemporary high-level performers in these Paralympic events are lacking, but Coutts 31 reported 67 mL·kg −1 ·min −1 in an elite paraplegic distance track competitor. Sex Differences

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Camilla J. Knight

.1080/14733285.2018.1492702 Rees , T. , & Hardy , L. ( 2000 ). An investigation of the social support experiences of high-level performers . The Sport Psychologist, 14 , 327 – 347 . doi:10.1123/tsp.14.4.327 10.1123/tsp.14.4.327 Richards , K. , & Winter , S. ( 2013 ). Key reflections from “On the Ground”: Working