Integrating the micro and meso-level approaches to athlete development and success

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This chapter discusses the integration of micro- and meso-level approaches to athlete sporting success. The integration of policy levels helps understand how sport policies (meso-level) can help elite athletes with career development and transitions (mico-level). While these two levels of policy analysis are interrelated, they are generally independently developed (De Bosscher, 2007). Specifically, at the micro-level, the lifespan model of Wylleman and Lavallee (2004) suggests a holistic approach to athletic development looking at four normative transitions that athletes experience (i.e., athletic, psychological, psychosocial, academic/vocational level) during different stages of athletic development: initiation, development, mastery and the discontinuation stage. At the meso-level, the Sport Policy Factors Leading to International Sporting Success (SPLISS) model (De Bosscher, et al., 2006) classifies sports policies into nine pillars, which are further operationalized by 96 Critical Success Factors (CSFs). The levels of athletic development suggested at a micro-level are supported by policies at the participation (Pillar 3 in SPLISS) and talent identification and development (Pillar 4 in SPLISS) stages at a meso- level. In this sense, the integration of the micro- and meso- level policy analyses helps develop an understanding on the ways policies could best enable the transitions of young talents and athletes during their career.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDelivering effective elite athlete management
EditorsSvein Andersen, Lars Tore Ronglan, Barrie Houlihan
PublisherRoutledge Francis & Taylor group
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-80327-5
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • elite sport policies
  • elite sport success
  • athlete career development


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