An interpretation of the essence of goal-setting and excellence among top athletes and performing artists

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Perry, Lianne R.
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This thesis addresses the issue of goal-setting as a component of excellence. Although there has been considerable attention paid to goal-setting in the physical education and psychology literature, goal-setting amongst excellent performers in sport and the arts is an under researched field. Excellence, and more specifically how to achieve it, has been an increasingly popular area of study. The literature indicates that goal-setting has been studied in sport, business, the performing arts and sport. However, this study's focus will be on the performing arts and sport. Six performers were interviewed as case studies. These performers were: Michelle Sawatzky, Henriette Schellenberg, Tanya Dubnicoff, Tracy Dahl, Evelyn Hart and Colleen Miller. These individuals were high-achievers, Canadian and English speaking. They had all completed a substantial portion of their careers so that a retrospective examination of their experiences was possible. They were knowledgable and articulate individuals who felt that theyhad something to say about excellence and their achievement of it. Each participant discussed events they consider to be highlights in their careers. Following a discussion of career highlights is a discussion of goal-setting and then of excellence. An analysis of the results is then offered. It was found that there were certain skills these performers utilized in order to achieve excellence. Goal-setting was one of these skills. As well, there are skills that these performers felt are necessary in order to maintain excellence. By combining all responses, a discussion of the essence of excellence and the importance of mental training concludes the analysis section. A conclusion and suggestions for future research concludes the thesis.