Exploring the Impact of Siblings on Talent Development in Sport

Taylor, Robin David orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9530-8355 (2019) Exploring the Impact of Siblings on Talent Development in Sport. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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This thesis aimed to address and inform the gap in current literature around the role of family during talent development in sport, through an exploration of sibling impact. This was achieved through a series of studies with siblings across a range of sports and phases of talent pathways. Chapter 2 highlighted the disproportionate research focus on the role of parents in sport. It also identified Family Systems Theory as an appropriate theoretical lens through which to view future studies. A retrospective study was then conducted to explore the perceptions of athletes and their siblings who went on to achieve elite status across a range of sports, with a view to uncovering whether the sibling relationship had been perceived as beneficial (Chapter 3). Findings illuminated the potential nonlinear nature of the sibling relationship. Accordingly, Chapter 4 employed a longitudinal approach, to further explore the temporal nature of the relationship as it unfolds. This approach highlighted the change in use and importance of mechanisms both within and across sibling sets, as well as highlighting the biopsychosocial impact of the relationship on development. Furthermore, including parents’ perceptions of the relationship provided some initial practical considerations for coaches seeking to utilise the sibling relationship for development. Chapter 5 adopted a practice-based investigation exploring twin relationships in talent development, employing observations across a 7-month period through the researcher’s involvement as a coach. Thus, highlighting further practical considerations, alongside continued confirmation of the multifaceted, complex and individualised nature of the sibling relationship. Chapter 6 discussed the biopsychosocial developmental role siblings may have, and reinforced the detail provided through examining such a relationship from a Family Systems perspective, before identifying overarching implications for practice. Finally, Chapter 7 summarised the key messages around the impact of siblings on talent development and highlights the need to continue to explore the relationship.

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