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The Attainment and Refinement of Elite-Level Curling Expertise: Similarities and Differences Among Olympic and World Champions Open Access


Other title
Athlete Development
Talent Development
Skill Acqusition
Elite Athletes
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Krepps, Robert E
Supervisor and department
Baudin, Pierre (Physical Education and Recreation)
Examining committee member and department
Spence, John (Physical Education and Recreation)
Holt, Nick (Physical Education and Recreation)
Harber, Vicki (Physical Education and Recreation)
Reade, Ian (Physical Education and Recreation)
Physical Education and Recreation

Date accepted
Graduation date
2016-06:Fall 2016
Master of Arts
Degree level
The purpose of this study was to carefully examine the career histories of four male Olympic and/or World Champion curlers in order to better understand the attainment and refinement of their elite-level curling expertise. A mixed-method design was employed, with the qualitative element core, the quantitative element supplementary, and both elements examined simultaneously (i.e., QUAN + qual). This study’s qualitative element, which was based on an in-depth interview with each curler, identified ‘The Five Components of Curling Expertise’ (i.e., technical, tactical, physical, mental, and social). It also identified common themes reflecting how these curlers went about developing each of these components across three distinct career periods. Beyond these key similarities, this study’s qualitative element also identified clear differences in these curlers’ journeys to the top of the sport, and in what they did to stay there. These differences were reinforced by its’ quantitative element, which showed a considerable range in their absolute and proportional investments in different types of training and competition at all points in their careers. However, it also showed that these curlers’ average annual training and competition investments grew steadily as their careers progressed, including after they had achieved elite status. This study helps to advance the existing literature on talent and athlete development, and offers recommendations to those interested in studying and/or supporting the attainment and refinement of elite-level curling expertise.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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