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Katrina Ladwig

Matthew Heath

Last modified: Tuesday, March 2, 2004

Expert to discuss how the elite excel

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Janet Starkes is something of an expert on expertise.

For almost 30 years, Starkes, professor and chair of the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, has studied the expert motor performance of athletes, dancers, surgeons and microsurgeons. Specifically, she has studied the amount and type of practice facilitating expert levels of performance.

She has found, for instance, that compared to non-elite performers, elite performers devote an enormous proportion of their training to practicing elements that may not be fun, but are necessary for reaching an elite level of performance. The aim of her research is to devise optimal practice and training regimes for the next generation of elite athletes and surgeons.

Starkes will deliver the Marian Godeke Miller Lecture, "Developing Top Athletes: How to Become the Best and Stay There," on Monday (March 8) at 7:30 p.m. in the Indiana Memorial Union's Whittenberger Auditorium at Indiana University Bloomington.

Matthew Heath, an assistant professor of kinesiology and a faculty member of the IU Program in Neural Science, said he expects the lecture to have broad appeal.

"It would appeal to people in psychology, the School of Music -- anyone interested in what it takes to become elite in any domain," Heath said.

The lecture is named for Marian Godeke Miller, an alumna of the IU Department of Kinesiology, which is part of the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Miller is the immediate past president of the National Federation of Republican Women. She has served as president of the United Way of Greater Lafayette, and she is a member of the Indiana Committee for the Humanities and a member of the steering committee of Hoosiers for Higher Education. She has been recognized for her numerous outstanding contributions. She has received the President's Medal from the Indiana University Alumni Association and has twice been named Sagamore of the Wabash, once by Gov. Otis R. Bowen and again by Gov. Robert D. Orr.