From the playground to the WNBA. A case study with basketball player “Ticha” Penicheiro

Américo Santos, Amândio Graça, Fernando Tavares


A growing interest in the characteristics related to the excellent performance has provided a marked increase in research in the area of excellence in sport. In this sense, the purpose of this study was to characterize the life story of a high level international basketball player. The investigation used a qualitative methodology. The main resource was an in-depth interview to the athlete, supplemented by interviews with relevant people in different stages of their process as well as a comprehensive search of available data in the media on matters relevant to our study. Data was analyzed using inductive and deductive processes of qualitative analysis. The main conclusions point out the decisive importance of the social environment during her childhood, parental education and safety of the neighborhood. Psychological factors were identified: intrinsic motivation, willingness to sacrifice, adaptive perfectionism, calm and self-reliance. These are the basis of a strong competitive attitude, with great control over stress and anxiety. Humility, sports intelligence, professionalism, leadership skills and respect for the game are other features that stand out. Deliberate play and the specific way in which occurred constitute a decisive training factor that carved the athlete way of play. The distinct stages and characteristics of the deliberate practice were also decisive for the development of the skills aroused in her childhood. Constant individual success is considered crucial in the development of increased perceptions of competence and motivation.

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Copyright (c) 2013 Américo Santos, Amândio Graça, Fernando Tavares