Identification and Development of Talent in Sport

23 January 2011

The journal IRATDE has published a special issue focusing on identification and development of talent in sport.

The journal IRATDE has published a special issue focusing on the identification and development of talent in sport. The special issue aims to contribute to the scientific discussion by outlining and analysing actual research findings on understanding the qualities that give rise to an individual for elite performance and facilitating expert development. Although sport is an area where organised programs of talent identification and development already occured in the 1950s making it as a pioneer among other sciences, there has been a need for actual data available on the successes and failures of current approaches. The special issue helps close this information gap by examining some research-based clues on the prediction of talent and also analysing external factors contributing to the development and progression toward elite performance.
Featured articles include one on the examination of perceptual-cognitive and perceptual-motor components that can contribute to the prediction of excellence and expertise development in sport. Other articles include an analysis on what factors play a key role in fast bowling elite development. Despite the assumptions, results revealed the commonality that the development of the cricket players were unique and nonlinear, and the obstacles they encountered during their progress resulted in unique performance adaptations.

There is a review providing insights on the process high performance athletes acquire the skills necessary for excellent results. Jason P. Gulbin and his team conclude that ’high performance athletes are characterised by diverse and high level sports participation prior to specialisation, a vast investment and commitment to practice, access to high quality coaching, substantial parental support, an early and enduring passion for sport, and resilience to overcome and bounce back from any obstacles’.

Another article challenge the conventional assumption that only structured talent development programs can lead to world-class performance and by referring to qualitative data and examples from Brasilian football Duarte Araújo and his colleagues argue that unconventional, even aversive environmental conditions might play a stimulating role in the acquisition of expertise skills of high achievers.

The effects of relative age and birthplace on the progress of talented sportsmen are also discussed in reviews, and for those who are keen on gaining deeper insights in the field of talent identification, the study by Kevin Till and his team on analysing the qualities of athletes in the UK’s rugby talent development program could be of special interest.

The issue include a range of studies carried out with different methodological approaches including qualitative interviews, large-scale surveys, secondary analysis of existing data and quasi-longitudinal investigations in addition to the more etnographic examination used in one article.

IRATDE Issue 2/2010 is available by clicking the link below: