Expert Masters Sport Performers: Perspectives on Age-Related Processes, Skill Retention Mechanisms, and Motives
Oxford University Press
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences
An exceptional cohort of masters athletes extensively train for and compete in sport during middle- and older-ages of the lifespan. This chapter, which examines the empirical research and emerging inquiry pertaining to this cohort, is specifically informed by modeling approaches to lifelong performance, psychomotor expertise perspectives, and a social-cognitive perspective on motivation. First, studies documenting optimistic trends of age-related performance decline among aging athletes are reviewed and evaluated to understand which processes might underscore retention. Second, theoretical mechanisms pertaining to the preservation of aged skilled performance are presented, for which various aspects of masters athletes’ training are integral. The third section outlines perspectives on the exceptional commitment and competitive motives that serve to perpetuate masters athletes’ extensive sport involvement. Avenues for future research and applied implications are integrated throughout the chapter.