Talent and Teams in Elite Motor Sport: Driving Development Through An Interpersonal Focus

Cameron, Brian William (2020) Talent and Teams in Elite Motor Sport: Driving Development Through An Interpersonal Focus. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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Motor sport is a sport of constant development and innovation (Delbridge & Mariotti, 2009). At elite levels, marginal gains create fractions of a second differences between winners and also-rans (Motorsportsetc, 2019). It is a field in which little research has been undertaken in human performance and competitors and teams rely on experience and serendipity for success. The overall purpose of this thesis is to explore the value of focussing on interpersonal behaviours in the development of elite drivers and teams.
Chapter 1 and 2 outline the thesis and the rationale for adopting a pragmatic research philosophy. Chapter 3 investigated talent development knowledge, explored the context of motor sport and, found many similarities such as developmental stages and normative and non-normative transitions (e.g. Bailey & Collins, 2013; Wylleman, Alferman & Lavallee, 2004). With increasingly higher levels engaged in by reducing numbers of competitors Chapter 4 investigated enabling and constraining factors using focus groups with young elite drivers and interviews with motorsport professionals. This uncovered the critical role of interpersonal relationships in achieving long term success.
Based on the critical role of interpersonal behaviours found in Chapters 3 and 4 Insights Discovery (ID), a psychometric tool used predominantly for interpersonal development in business, was evaluated in Chapter 5. This concluded that, with some caveats, its use could offer opportunities for enhancing development and performance through positively impacting relationships. Chapter 6 thereafter studied the application of ID in a global elite young driver programme and used qualitative methods to investigate the impact from the perspectives of the drivers and those in their sporting network. Whereas benefits were reported one critical limitation was that only the driver side of relationships was addressed. Therefore, to explore the impact of using ID more extensively Chapter 7 presented a case study of the application of ID across a whole team, including a young elite driver, in a development programme during an international race series.
The study concludes that there are tangible benefits to be gained from focussing on interpersonal development in elite motor sport and that, with knowledgeable and considered application, the use of ID can help realise these, Further it is concluded that opportunities exist for benefits to be read across into other areas and sports.

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