Mathias Macody Lund, Ketil Østrem & Rune Høigaard
University of Agder, Norway
The purpose of this study was to investigate the sporting activity experience and development of five Norwegian elite soccer players from childhood to twenty years of age. The theoretical framework utilised for the study included the ‘Theory of deliberate practice’ (Ericsson, Krampe, & Tesch-Römer, 1993) and a description of ‘deliberate play’ (Côté , 1999). Qualitative interviews with both the players and their legal guardians explored the nature and amount of activity engaged in. Results indicated that the players started to play organised football at the age of five or six; On average the players accumulated 4590 hours of deliberate practice and 5300 hours of deliberate play. The players were also involved with other organised sports but to a much lesser extent. In conclusion, it seems that the players development path corresponded to the ‘Early engagement hypothesis’ (Ford, Ward, Hodges, & Williams, 2009) and indicated that the expert players have invested many hours of deliberate practice and play activities in their main sport and infrequently participated in other sports.
MATHIAS MACODY LUND holds a Bachelor’s degree in sports education from Bergen University College. Masters degree in Sports Science from University of Agder. He is manager of a football academy, Varegg Fotballfritidsordning, and player as well as strength and conditioning coach of Varegg Fotball. C Licensed coach from the Norwegian FA.
KETIL ØSTREM is assistant professor in Sports Science at University of Agder. Member of the research group Sport and Exercise Psychology (SEP-HEP) at UiA. Talent development and talent identification in child- and youth sport are focus areas in his teaching and research at UiA.
RUNE HØIGAARD (Ph.D.) is Professor in Sport Science at the University of Agder, and visiting Professor at the Nord University, Norway. He is head of the Sport and Exercise Psychology (SEP-HEP) research group at UiA. In addition, he is coordinator for the sport psychology and coaching section at Olympiatoppen SØR. Høigaard is the author of several books, has contributed to other books, and has over 40 refereed articles on sports psychology, group dynamics, coaching, and counseling.
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