Talent is a divisive topic, but it is hard to argue that you can create a champion without any talent. Properly identifying and nurturing that talent is therefore a key element of high performance. On this episode we discuss the complexity of talent, how to approach it as a coach, and Vern’s multi-step approach talent identification.
Highlights and Quotes
We start out the discussion of talent identification by looking at some approaches to it outside the US and research on the topic from the USOC. From there we discuss Vern’s multi-step approach and discuss other issues relating to identifying talent.
About Talent Identification
- 1:30 – A look at talent identification in Switzerland and the UBS Kids Cup. Talent ID can start at the school level and be simple and easy.
- 6:00 – Recommended books on talent identification.
- 8:00 – Learning from USOC’s Path to Excellence research on Olympians.
- 10:30 – Blowing up the eastern bloc athlete factory myths.
- 14:45 – Why talent does and does not matter. “You cannot be a plow horse and win the Kentucky Derby. ” “Talent is just potential; there are no guarantees. “
- 17:00 – “Don’t confuse adolescent performance level with potential for progression and senior success. “
The Talent Identification Process
- 18:00 – Talent spotting
- 19:30 – Talent identification
- 20:00 – Talent direction
- 20:40 – Talent acquisition and development
- 21:30 – Talent confirmation, redirection, refinement, and retention
Best Practices in Talent Identification
- 25:00 – Looking at early maturation, age group champions, and the relative age effect.
- 27:30 – The talent identification process should be inclusive, not exclusive.
- 30:00 – Identifying talent through tasks, rather than tests.
- 37:00 – More thoughts on the USOC’s Path to Excellence research.
- 38:00 – Identifying psychological skills and personality traits.
To hear more about this topic you can listen to the full episode above. If you like what you hear on the GAINcast, don’t forget to give us a review and subscribe on iTunes.
The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:
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- You can read more about the USOC research on Olympians on their website.
- For some thoughts on talent identification from former hammer throw world record holder Jüri Tamm, read our interview with him.
- For a look at how youth champions fare on the senior stage, check out our article on predicting success of youth hammer throw champions.
- Some books recommened on this episode: The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. by Daniel Coyle, The Talent Lab by Owen Slot, Developing Talent in Young People by Dr. Benjamin Bloom, Talent Identification and Development in Sport: International Perspectives, and Expert Performance in Sports: Advances in Research on Sport Expertise.