The word talent is much used in society but we feel the notion of talent can be confusing and is generally not well understood. In sport there is a real need for clarity and we worked with a number of performance coaches to create a practical definition of ‘talent’ we can use to help make our talent pathways more effective.
Currently there is little evidence of talent being a 'natural' process and because of this we feel it is important to focus on influencing the quality of the environment around the athlete.
To do this we firstly need to establish if an athlete is physically and physiologically suitable for their ‘chosen’ sport at elite level.
Secondly the data shows that current performance at junior level is a poor predictor of future potential and we need to look in more detail at why an athlete currently performs as they do (for example, the influence of early maturity in power based sports). Finally we need to recoginse the importance of the athletes’ mindset (and their coach and their parents!) and how this impacts on future success.
We believe that if we better understand these areas then the development process is much more likely to be effective.
What is talent?
The following is a collection of articles, recommended reading and video clips that will get you thinking a bit more about where talent comes from and what you can do to influence it.
- Mindset information sheet
- Swimming – Jo Jackson 2011
- Cricket – mindset & coaching
- Is talent taught rather than innate?
- The speed gene
- How not to talk to your kids
- Natural talent – distance running
- Predicting performance in basketball
- The talent equation
- The mindset of a champion by Carol Dweck
- Told to be realistic
- What is talent - can science spot what we will be best at
- Losing is good for you
- Recommended reading list
For those of you who have attended a workshop with us (or would like to!) the following links are the presentations we use
- Understanding Talent - Coaches workshop (June 2014)
- Understanding Talent - Parents workshop (April 2014)
Practical tools for coaches, parents and athletes
We have developed and included below some practical tools to start you thinking about how you can integrate these ideas into what you do to help maximise your potential.
- Athlete profile
- Mindset – coaching card
- Mindset - athlete card
- Coaching - How the environment shaped me
- Mindset survey - coach
- Mindset survey - athlete
- Parents - mindset tip sheet 2013
- Key coaching messages - checklist
- Talent environments- coach planner
- Watching the 'Understanding Talent' film with young athletes
- 'How to plan for success guide' example document
- 'How to plan for success guide' template