Bradley W. Young and Patricia L.weir
School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Canada
W. Young, B., L.weir, P. (2015). Maturing with masters athletes: Tracing the evolution of empirical research on aging and sport expertise. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 46(6), 689-713. doi:10.7352/IJSP.2015.46.689
Research on Masters Athletes (MAs) has increased significantly over the last decade, as investigators have realized that this unique cohort enables us to understand perspectives on the aging process, and its relationship with deliberate practice and sport expertise. This wave of empirical work also reflects increasing interest in appraising how individuals remain motivated and committed to sport in older adulthood. A seminal leader in this area has been Dr. Janet Starkes, whose multidisciplinary and collaborative research contributed significantly to this surge. This paper will trace Dr. Starkes’ contributions beginning with the context for her research on aged sport expertise and her seminal publication on MAs in 1999, followed by a description of how this and other early works precipitated further studies on aging athletes. The merging of paradigms, conceptual premises, methodological approaches, the evolution of the field of MAs, and lessons learned will be highlighted.
Keywords: Aged performance, Commitment, Motivation, Practice, Sport