Is the Successful Athlete Born or Made? A Review of the Literature

Mateo Rodríguez Quijada

*Corresponding author: Mateo Rodríguez Quijada

Original Language

Cite this article

Rodríguez Quijada, M. (2016). Is the Successful Athlete Born or Made? A Review of the Literature. Apunts. Educación Física y Deportes, 123, 13-18.



Is being an elite athlete implicit in the genes or is it achieved through systematic training? This question has been studied by professionals and researchers in the field of sports training since the latter became a science. This literature review aims to study the importance of genetics and sports training in the formation of an elite athlete. The material analyzed includes books and articles in the field of sports medicine and sports training published in the last 22 years (1993-2015). The result of this work is a comprehensive analysis of the issue which will provide readers with the necessary basic knowledge of this specific area. The study shows that the professional growth of an athlete and their ability to become part of the sporting elite depend in identical measure on two elements of great importance: their genetic heritage and the sports training they do. However, one should not neglect the influence of environmental, nutritional and psychological factors on successful athlete development. 


Keywords: Deliberate Practice, Elite Sport, Gene, Nature vs Nurture, Sports Talent Development, Sports Training.

ISSN: 1577-4015

Received: May 25, 2015

Accepted: October 9, 2015

Published: January 1, 2016