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Hypothesis and Theory ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01927

Understanding high achievement: The case for eminence

 Joe Baker1*,  Jörg Schorer2, Srdjan Lemez3 and  Nick Wattie4
  • 1Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, Canada
  • 2University of Oldenburg, Germany
  • 3California State University, Los Angeles, United States
  • 4Ontario Tech University, Canada

The development of the field of sport expertise over the past 20 years has been remarkable and our understanding of the varying factors affecting athlete development and motor skill acquisition has expanded considerably. Recently, there has been a push towards more sophisticated research designs to continue the advancement of our understanding of sport expertise. Even in a population of performers at the highest levels of performance and competition (e.g., participants in professional sports or those who compete at Olympic Games), there are those with obvious superiority compared to others in the cohort, such as those who win ‘most valuable player’ awards or who are elected to the Hall of Fame. This paper builds a case that athletes who reach this level of achievement possess a more advanced level of skill than those at the elite or expert stage and we refer to this stage of development as ‘eminence’. This paper explores the notion of eminence and provides converging forms of evidence for the division between expertise and eminence. Moreover, it explores the implications of this division for the further examination of skill acquisition across the lifespan.

Keywords: Expertise, Sport, development, Athlete, training

Received: 30 Mar 2019; Accepted: 05 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Baker, Schorer, Lemez and Wattie. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Joe Baker, York University, Kinesiology and Health Science, Toronto, Canada, bakerj@yorku.ca