Measuring Individual Competitiveness and its Impact on Sporting Success

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Julene Palacios-Saracho, Ander Palacios-Saracho


Although the sports industry pours millions of dollars into understanding talent, we do not know: how to measure individuals’ attitudes towards competition, when these attitudes are formed, how they vary both within individuals over time and across individuals, and, more fundamentally, how important competitiveness is for sporting success. We measure competitiveness and answer these questions by leveraging a rich, dynamic panel dataset on hundreds of top young prospects from a renowned professional soccer academy during the decade leading up to professionalism. The ideas and methods are applicable to all other sports.