Athletes who are exceptionally talented evoke discussion about factors that contribute to athletic success. Athletes such as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Mia Hamm go down in history books as extraordinary talents. Understanding what helps world-class athletes succeed is the first step in knowing how to identify gifted athletes and promote the development of athletic talent. Athletic giftedness results in success at the highest level of competition through a combination of natural physical attributes, a serious dedication to training, psychological skills, a propensity to overcoming adversity, and a strong social support system.

Natural athletic ability is due in part to physical characteristics such as height, size, speed, coordination, dexterity, and flexibility. Adolescents experiencing growth spurts may find that their athletic performance improves in conjunction with ...

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