Getting gritty about practice and success: Motivational characteristics of great performers

MSL research field: 
TitleGetting gritty about practice and success: Motivational characteristics of great performers
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsHodges, NJ, Ford, PR, Hendry, DT, Williams, AM
JournalProgress in Brain Research
Type of ArticleCommentary
KeywordsExpertise, Grit, self-determined motivation, sport

We consider the data reported in the target article with respect to key motivational frameworks and characteristics, including grit and self-determined forms of motivation. Empirical data are reviewed that highlight the relationships between these concepts and practice and success. We highlight the concept of grit as a defining characteristic of the super-elite athletes, in reference to both their continued perseverance in the face of obstacles, as well as the increased motivation seemingly caused by such obstacles or set-backs. We discuss the dynamic nature of motivation with respect to cross-sectional and longitudinal age-related comparisons in athletes. Such research is necessary to better understand the characteristics that are potentially transitory or that are a consequence of success, rather than being causal in nature. In the final section, we provide evidence consistent with a profile of a super-elite athlete that is best defined with respect to co-existing types of motivations that have traditionally been considered both positive and negative with respect to their outcomes. The between group comparisons of highly successful athletes in the target article, is unusual yet important if we are to better understand the psychosocial profiles necessary to succeed, that are unbiased by age, practice and competition experience.

Refereed DesignationRefereed
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