Talentidentificatie en -ontwikkeling in sport: de bevindingen uit wetenschappelijk onderzoek op een rij

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Hieronder een korte samenvatting van de meest interessante bevindingen uit diverse talent-ID en talentontwikkelingsstudies die in deze studie ‘TALENT ID and DEVELOPMENT A GUIDE FOR SPORT‘ aan de orde komen.

  1. Being good in one phase of the learning may not have a high relation to being good at a later phase
  2. 90% of eventual world top 25 athletes do not shine supreme at young ages, what chance is there of identifying the future star?
  3. Early specialisation and emphasis on all age groups winning is associated with early drop out and wasted talent (Gould, Feltz, Horn, Weiss, 1982; Valeriote and Hansen, 1986).
  4. While early specialisation is common practice, and may develop youngsters quickly into successful age group performers, it is far less effective for long term development.
  5. Ward and Williams (2003) concluded that the higher skill levels of ‘elite’ soccer players as young as 8 are likely to be as a result of the 200 hours of expert coaching they have received as opposed to any genetic superiority!
  6. The majority of talent identification and development programmes throughout the world still appear to use performance measures as a main indicator of talent at all levels, an approach already shown to be highly problematic and a major barrier to development (Abbott and Collins, 2002; Abbott et al., 2002).
  7. Early training can mask those with true potential, especially if large discrepancies exist between children’s opportunities at early ages.
  8. Hard running and physical maturity may be key to football success at the age of 12-14 but, as athletes get older and size and strength factors balance out, mental factors such as decision-making and anticipation become more important for success (Abbott and Easson, 2002).
  9. Those who make it to the top tend to engage in more deliberate play and sport diversity between the ages of 7 and 12 than non experts (Cote, 1999; Cote and Hay, 2002).
  10. It is only psychological factors that can distinguish performance levels (Talbot-Honeck and Orlick, 1998), and staying power at an elite level (Kreiner-Phillips and Orlick, 1993).
  11. Unless a child has developed the generic fundamental skills by the age of 11 or 12, future sport specific success may be beyond reach (Moore et al., 1998).
  12. Early specialisation does not favour the development of elite athletes and, before adolescence, diverse sports participation is more important (Hill, 1993; Cote and Hay, 2002), perhaps acting as a foundation of mental and physical skills (Ericsson, 1998; Beamer et al., 1999).
  13. Research highlights that it would be sensible to incorporate a wide variety of cognitive, perceptual, and motor skills into training programmes (Janelle and Hillman, 2003), as many ‘teachable’ factors are important in distinguishing the best performers at later stages (Helsen and Starkes, 1999; Simonton, 1999; Williams and Reilly, 2000; Ward and Williams, 2003: for a fuller review of this objective evidence of factors associated with the development of performance, see Starkes and Ericsson, 2003; Williams and Hodges, 2004).
  14. It has been argued that we need to move away from early selection policies and an emphasis on winning at young ages, in part because it is so difficult to predict the ultimate level that someone can reach.
  15. Empirical evidence shows the unstable nature of anthropometric such as height (Abbott and Collins, 2002) and general growth patterns (Ackland and Bloomfield, 1996), especially through adolescence.
  16. The identification of some positive characteristic in a pre-adolescent child … does not guarantee that the characteristic will remain through-out the process of maturation toward the adult form” (Ackland and Bloomfield, 1996, p.57).
  17. Performance factors are also unstable due to factors such as maturation and training effects (Abbott and Collins, 2002; Ward and Williams, 2003).
  18. Early selection is often highly valued and important opportunities are gained from being successful in the short-term, inevitably influencing coaches to prioritise short-term development methods and selecting those who can perform well in the present at the expense of others (who perhaps have more long-term potential).
  19. The message this provides is poor direction to less experienced coaches and may reinforce poor practice, such as early selection and emphasis on winning, potentially at the expense of inclusion and long-term development for all.
  20. Unfortunately, there appears to be a widespread rush to identify and select children into specific sports from an early age (Kozel, 1996).
  21.  DTB (Duitse tennisbond) also lay down the need for 90% generic movement skills and 10% competition until the age of 12!
  22. As generic skills underpin the development of more sport-specific skills it appears sensible to develop those first in as many children as possible before attempting to identify those who may have potential.
  23. Importance of mental skills for performance and development, there is a surprising lack of emphasis and guidance within development programmes.

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