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Develop talent identification model (TID) for athletic sports

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Develop Talent Identification Model
Recently, South Asian nations, most notably India, have introduced a model based on the Australian Sports Search/ Talent Search programme, which measures adolescents on certain anthropometrical, physiological and performance tasks. Within Afghanistan, the model, ‘Sports Interactive’, was employed as both a tool to increase participation levels across a range of sports, and as a talent detection tool. The primary objective of this paper is to analyse critically current TID sports models in South Asian countries and develop talent identification model (TID) for athletic sports.
Generic Models
Successful participation in sport requires an array of different movements. While many of these movements are specific to different sports, others are common to a range of activities, such as catching. These typical movements are called fundamental motor abilities.
Recently, a TID model has been developed and piloted in South Asian countries that emphasises the importance of athletes developing mature levels of fundamental motor abilities if they are to become involved and maintain involvement in sport (Mattone & Xavier, 2013). Innovatively, this model has ensured that children are provided with appropriate learning experiences prior to the selection of any potential talent.
The model provides all children in year 3 and 4 in primary school, between the age of seven and nine, with the opportunity to attend a generic activities club.

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Within this club, fundamental movement abilities, such as kicking, catching, and leaping, as opposed to sport specific skills for instances football, are developed. Following a 10-week block, selection of potential talent occurs. Selection is based on the ability of the children across the range of fundamental movements. Those children selected are invited to attend a class where the application of these basic abilities within the context of activities and games is pursued.
The programme is still in its early stages but following the first year of delivery appears to be very promising for children of all levels of ability opting for involvement. Further research is required to establish whether children who would previously have been overlooked, due to poor fundamental movement skills, are being identified in the advanced class. Interestingly, this model is running parallel to a traditional early sports specialisation model in tennis. The impact of the different models of children’s involvement and performance in sport is currently been assessed through longitudinal research, and is expected to be complete before the end of 2015 (Stafford & Sports Coach UK, 2005).
Performance Models
Although there evidently has been an increased recognition worldwide of the value of employing effective talent detection processes, it is apparent that athletes coming from the South Asian nations are commonly selected for a range of sports by ‘natural selection’ methods. For example, the screening criterion applied most frequently in India for selection into development squads and sports schools, is competition results (Baum, Viens & Slatin, 2005). Once here, athletes continue only if they can ‘produce the goods’. This school of hard knocks approach obviously can bring success if the performances registered in previous and recent games is anything to go by. In less ‘demanding’ regimes, however, several downsides to this process can be seen. In Bangladesh for example, Borland (2003) highlights how the over-emphasis at all age levels on winning is thought to contribute to the high dropout rate from competitive programmes. Unfortunately however, the success of a country in sport is often inappropriately attributed to their talent detection and identification methods. For example, due to Malaysia’s success in badminton, the ‘atheoretical’ display grounded TI models they use are perceived to be productive.
A one-year age gap can make a substantial difference in performance ability in youth competitions (Kruger & North-West University, 2006). Therefore, selection procedures that are based on performances of young people are probable to lead to a disproportionate number of sport athletes tending to be born in the early part of the selection year, as has repeatedly reflected in research conducted by experts in the field in such countries as India and Pakistan.
Where advanced physical development is an advantage, the youngest players are considerably unfortunate. Several youngsters with talent may be ignored simply because they are conceived too late in the selection period and are therefore less developed physically (Byham, Paese & Smith, 2002).
Interestingly, research into age precocity of athletes around the world has found similar asymmetries in birth-date distributions within teams. For instance, Walls (2008) found that players within all teams in the 1990 World Cup and under-17s and under-20s tournaments in athletic sports tended to be born in the early part of the selection year. Twenty-four countries are represented within the World Cup indicating a worldwide trend within athletic sports. These research findings imply that, although it has clearly been established that talent detection and identification processes based on performance levels will de-select potentially talented individuals, such processes continue to be employed widely.
The importance of relative age in selection processes was emphasised recently in football within India. Hugo (2004) highlighted how, until 1997, the Maldives selection year started on 1 August and ended on 31 July. Youth players born between August and October (the early part of the selection period) were more probable to be acknowledged as having talent and eventually become successful senior players. In contrast, players born later in the selection year tended to drop out of football as early as 12 years of age. However, the change in the start of selection in 1997 to the first of January has resulted in a shift in birth-dates of individuals being selected. Only individuals within the 1 6 to 1 8 age group did not experience this change. This is probably because those players who were born in the first and second quarters of the year (January to July) were deselected before the age of 16, due to the old selection process. This highlights the problem with employing performance criteria for identifying talent since, on average, those individuals born later in the selection year are likely to mature later. In accordance, Harris-Keller (2002) revealed that within Sri Lanka, athletics appeared systematically to exclude late maturing boys and favour average and early maturing boys. Consequently, late maturers are likely to be eliminated during adolescence and will not have the opportunity to develop the required skills to be reselected into the sport once they have matured physically. Unfortunately, the success of a country in sport is often attributed to their talent detection and identification methods with little consideration given to alternative causes of success. For example, due to Malaysia’s success in badminton, the performance-based TI models they employ are considered effective.
TID Model
The purpose of this information is to develop a talent identification model for athletic sports such as running. To ensure the selection of suitable participants, selector require an education to make sure they ensure they are consistent in their selection of the appropriate qualities and attributes. Parents are not merely meant to appreciate the relationship between selection and development process but also understand that it’s done fairly and equitably.
Concepts for Talent Identification
The process is divided into four phases: detection, identification, selection, and development (Grainger, 2004). Detection is concerned with recognizing appropriate participants that are not presently engaged in the sport. Other sports such as football make this process less pertinent as a majority of players are already participating in the sport.
Talent identification involves distinguishing present players with the capability of excelling in the sport while talent selection is concerned with the admission of potential players into representative groups programmes for development. Talent identification attempts to forecast the future aptitude of the performance of a person. Several areas are usually considered in athletic sports regarding talent identification, such as physical characteristics, physiological capabilities, technical abilities, psychological talents, cognitive abilities, and social skills (Borland, 2003).
There is a difference between being gifted and being talented. Talent is defined as a greater mastery of methodically developed skills that positions a participant in the top ten percent for their age. Being gifted, on the other hand, is illustrated as having high levels of innate capabilities in a minimum of two of the four aptitude areas, which are intelligence, creativity, socio-effectiveness, and sensory-motor. Giftedness is identifiable by the speed of learning instead of the superiority of skills, and the process of development is designed to be able to change being gifted to being talented, for the purpose of being selected for a development programme. There is a weak relationship between natural competence and expertise and is more connected to the duration spent in a highly organized, demanding activity with the single objective of improving (O’Keeffe, 2005). The implication is that the selection of appropriate players to join a development programme is crucial, implying that the features on which the entrance is grounded must be precise.
Concerns with Talent Identification
A prevalent challenge with the selection of players is that coaches and selectors base their choice of players on their ability to assist them win competitions instead of concentrating on recognizing participants with the longstanding development focus. At the first stage of identification, assessment by coaches needs to be on the basis of the potential for growth, which will result in the inclusion of suitable players in the development programme and who will receive the required training to develop, irrespective of their contribution to the squad (Maher, 2012). This necessitates that selector focus on the players’ ability to develop instead of their display at the trials.
Growth and Maturation
It is challenging to recognize future potential, as coaches attempt to predict the quality of development of a player, instead of making assessments of their present capability. A player’s capacity is greatly influenced by growth and maturity, and should be given serious consideration. There are problems with selecting players on the basis of desired physical characteristics before they reach puberty, because these features may even out after adolescence, implying that late bloomers are a high risk of being overlooked if coaches focus on physical characteristics early in the development of a player (Kloosterman, 2012). Additionally, children considered to possess favourable attributes, for instance, size and speed may lose these after puberty.
Selection Variables
Selection decisions can be founded on several aspects on the basis of performance and the attributes of the player, as mentioned earlier. A concern, in this case, is that there is no exclusion of players based on a shortcoming in one area, specifically if there is isolation in testing. Maturation or training, however, can be used to balance out some of these gaps, and some players can compensate for their weaknesses by modifying their playing tendencies. The process, however, could lead to the exclusion of players with real potential for further development, in spite of their present professed shortcomings. Success at various ages is determined by different components, with the implication that the identification of potential players should not be based on immediate success and attributes and instead focus on aspects that have better forecasting abilities. It is not recommended to use physical and physiological attributes as selection benchmarks as a result of the consequences of puberty (Haroutounian, 2002).
Ability encompasses several characteristics. It is understood that psycho-behavioural characteristics are more imperative than physical and capability elements. These features are necessary for enhancing the development occasions that they are presented with, by assuming a suitable emphasis within and between preparation and competition. Consequently, a player’s approach will be of better advantage to them, particularly during a development programme, so as to attain their capacity than the physical and skill characteristics at a tender age (University of Edinburgh., Wolstencroft & Sportscotland Organization, 2002).
Identifying Players
Following the discussion above, it is mandatory to recognize the aspects that coaches should assess so as to enter players into a development programme, and consequently select them into competitive squads. The most important elements that have been recognized are physical attributes for instance strength and size, physiological abilities for example fitness and speed, technical skills, cognitive abilities, and psycho-behavioural attributes.
At this stage, it is not appropriate to screen participants on the basis of their physical and physiological traits as a result of the consequence of puberty and the possibility of overlooking players with similar or greater abilities. It is desirable that players possess positive psychobehavioural features, and it is even mandatory that a player uses them during the development programme, and to attain their capacity. Perceptual-cognitive abilities and technical abilities have been established to be more probable to lead to discrimination between diverse general skills levels of players (Ackland, Elliott & Bloomfield, 2009). The question that is unanswered is the amount of emphasis placed on technical abilities and game appreciation, and if this differs by age. Coaches should be aware of the aspects to look for, the techniques to be used in observing them, and the emphasis on putting on each characteristic in the determination of the players to enter into the development programme.
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Borland, J. H. (2003). Rethinking gifted education. New York [u.a.: Teachers College Press.
Baum, S., Viens, J., & Slatin, B. (2005). Multiple intelligences in the elementary classroom: A teacher’s toolkit. New York: Teachers College Press.
Borland, J. H. (2003). Rethinking gifted education. New York [u.a.: Teachers College Press.
Grainger, R. (2004). Talent identification and development at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield, and the effects of community usage on the facility. University of Sheffield, Management School
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Kruger, A., & North-West University (South Africa). (2006). Sport specific talent identification determinants and development of sprinting and long jumping ability among 10-15 year old children from underprivileged communities.
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Walls, C. J. (2008). The development of a talent identification programme for bobsledding. York: University of Leeds/York St John University.

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