The influence and interaction of perceived experience on athlete development during deliberate practice activities is unknown. The current study aimed to explore the developmental experiences of high performing athletes during deliberate practice. Participants were 15 Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme Dual Career athletes (8 females, 7 males, aged between 17 to 18 years) enrolled in full-time UK tertiary education. Experiential data was collected through semi-structured interviews and thematically analyzed. Ten overarching themes were developed: Enjoyable Low-Pressure Practice Environment, Simulated Competition Against Others, Practice Performance Success, Challenging Environment, Supportive Relationships and Sanctuaries, Exposure to Higher Level Athletes and Different Practice Environments, Ability Status within the Practice Group, High Intensity Climate, Disruption to Practice Routine, and Practice Performance Failure. Findings revealed practice experiences to contain significant infrequent positive and consistent low-level negative experiences. To avoid spiraling negativity, participants accepted failure and used successful performance to enhance self-belief. Practitioners working within athlete development can review study findings to enhance their deliberate practice environment.


Training, Psychology, Sport Coaching, Influence, Performance, Education,


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