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The Life of High-Level Athletes: The Challenge of High Performance Against the Time Constraint

The conditions for high performance have changed considerably over the last few years. Athletes must spend more time training and competing, devote a lot of time to mental, physical and nutritional professionals and continue to respond to some constraints such as studying, spending time with their families, friends and quality of life. In this context and based on the work of Rosa, we wonder about the capacity of elite athletes to combine all these constraints, namely to manage the acceleration in their pace of life, in order to be able to achieve always more and better in the same time unit. To address this issue, we interviewed 42 French high-level athletes who train at the National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance (INSEP). Results show that to suit their goals, athletes implement arrangement and adjustment strategies aimed at making the time they have wholly useful and efficient. This time constraint puts athletes in a perpetual state of tension, on the verge of a good or poor life. The paper shows how the question of time, and particularly the acceleration of pace of life, is vital for modern sporting performance.