Mental and physical attributes defining world-class Norwegian athletes: Content analysis of interviews

  • Boes R
  • Harung H
  • Travis F
 et al. 
  • 29


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 3


    Citations of this article.


This study reports the results of a content analysis of interviews with 28 Norwegian world-class athletes and 28 controls, matched for gender, age, and type of sport. Semi-structured interviews explored their perceptions of their best performance. The interviews were analyzed using the ATLAS.ti and yielded 20 higher-order codes. Nine higher-order codes were categorized as inner-oriented, five were categorized as outer-oriented, and six were a combination of inner- and outer-oriented. Statistical analysis, using the Mann-Whitney test, showed significant group differences for seven higher-order codes: (a) two outer-oriented codes relating to "mastery--achievements" and "training--outer"; and (b) five inner-oriented codes relating to "mental preparation," "self-reliance," "training--inner," "wholeness," "performance--inner," and "growth orientation." These findings highlight the importance of both inner- and outer-oriented development for high-level achievement in sports--the "mental game" is as important as the physical game, both during training and competitions. Previously published quantitative data reported higher levels of brain integration, faster habitation to a loud tone, and higher ego and moral development in these world-class athletes. These findings are interpreted in light of a Unified Theory of Performance, which proposes that higher mind-brain development provides a basis for higher performance in any activity.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Fitness
  • Interview studies
  • Mental training
  • Olympic athletes
  • Psychological development
  • Sports performance
  • Unified Theory of Performance

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document

Get full text


  • R. Boes

  • H. S. Harung

  • F. Travis

  • A. M. Pensgaard

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free