What makes champions in sport? At the end of the day, it is the moment when one stands at the top of the podium, holding up their well-deserved medals and trophies that all elite athletes strive for. Thus, experts have studied this question extensively to see which programs, or by what means, are elite athletes developed to achieve this goal. One of the many aspects to athlete development is the controversial topic of deliberate practice versus deliberate play. Deliberate practice can be defined as “any training activity (a) undertaken with the specific purpose of increasing performance, (b) requiring cognitive and/or physical effort, and (c) relevant to promoting positive skill development” (Cote et al., 2007, p. 185) On the other hand, deliberate play is defined as “a form of sporting activity that involves early developmental physical activities that are intrinsically motivating, provide immediate gratification, and are specifically designed to maximize enjoyment” (Cote et al., 2007, p. 185-186). The phrase “deliberate practice versus deliberate play” is a common misnomer, since the terms are portrayed as the only two options; however, this is a false dichotomy. Empirical evidence supports the fact that both aspects are essential for the development of athletes; therefore the phrase should be correctly cited as “deliberate practice and deliberate play”. This commentary will focus on discussing the importance of both deliberate practice and deliberate play for elite athlete development as well as pose some questions on talent identification and early specialization in sport.
Some evidence that supports the importance of deliberate practice comes from Berry et al.’s (2008) study with elite athle...
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...07). Practice and Play in the Development of Sport
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Goncalves, C. E., Rama, L. M., & Figueiredo, A. B. (2012). Talent Identification and
Specialization in Sport: An Overview of Some Unanswered Questions. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 7, 390-393.
Greco, P., Memmert, D., & Morales, J. C. (2010). The Effect Of Deliberate Play On Tactical
Performance In Basketball.Perceptual And Motor Skills, 110(3), 849-856.
Memmert, D., Baker, J., & Bertsch, C. (2010). Play And Practice In The Development Of Sport-
specific Creativity In Team Ball Sports. High Ability Studies,21(1), 3-18.
Soberlak, P., & Cote, J. (2003). The Developmental Activities Of Elite Ice Hockey
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