Pathways to elite performance

If we were to take a sample of some of the World’s most decorated athletes, and have a quick glance at how they came to arrive at the pinnacle of their respective sports, we would find that there are a number of alternative pathways toward achieving sporting success.

On the one hand there are athletes like Tiger Woods who are considered child prodigies due to their high level of involvement and achievement in their sport from a very young age. On the other hand there are athletes like Wayne Gretzky who, although quite successful in their sport as a child, are known to have played a variety of sports until late adolescence. Yet still different again, there are athletes like Clara Hughes who after being hugely successful in one sport, decide to transfer their skills to another sport, subsequently achieving great success in the second sport as well!

The Pathways to the Podium Research Project will explore the sporting experiences of athletes in detail, however in an upcoming three-part series we review the existing research relating to alternative pathways to elite performance. The first article in the series will consider elite performance via early specialisation, the second will discuss elite performance via diversification, and the third will look at elite performance via talent transfer.

If there is another pathway toward elite performance that you would like to discuss, or there is another topic you would like to read about, post a comment below or contact us as

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Expert Advantage using the links in the menu bar to receive automatic email notification when new articles are posted. Check back soon for part 1 of the pathways to elite performance series – elite performance via early specialisation.


About Pathways to the Podium Research Team

The Pathways to the Podium Research Team consists of: Ms. Melissa Hopwood, PhD Candidate, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Dr. Joe Baker, School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Dr. Clare MacMahon, School of Sport and Exercise Science, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Dr. Damian Farrow, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, and the Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia.
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2 Responses to Pathways to elite performance

  1. chriszarina says:

    I recently undertook the research questionnaire. It took me a while to complete, but will be quite rewarding. I am interested to see the outcomes.

    • Hi Chris. The questionnaire is very extensive and does take a long time to complete, but as you would have noticed it covers a lot of different areas. This will allow us to take a really good look at some of the factors that influence the development of sport expertise. Thank you very much for your interest!

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