From my previous articles, we explored areas of
Definitely we would want to know, what is a successful talent identification then?
“Successful talent identification consists of three aspects: extensive knowledge of the performance demands within a particular sport; an accurate assessment of athlete capabilities in relation to these demands; and the ability to predict future performance levels based on current athlete’s characteristics” (Grove, 2001).
1. Extensive knowledge of the performance demands
Performance demand are highest when there is an expectation to meet. Not just any expectation, but the expectation to excel. In sports, it is to win, to conquer, to triumph. Though there are other school of thoughts in sport. Sport can be used to teach a life lesson, sport can be a way of enjoyment, sport can be a remedy, an outlet for stress relieve etc. However, knowing that a program that is catered for talent identification has its purpose to excel in the sport specific skill. The interesting thing is that it covers the well being of the individual from the psychology elements like temperament, attitude, knowledge application etc. From a coach/ trainers’ perspective, to get the best of the crop in talent is to filter out by the individual characteristics that can contribute to the development of the squad. In Football (Soccer), the talent streaming needs to focus on the tactics, formation, strengths and weaknesses of the team. Counter pressing tactics have seen a rise in the ability of individuals to last longer in match games, hunt down in packs as well as a constant anaerobic sprint capacity. This can only be done through a stringent, disciplined training program that was established. Such a club that used this in this season in the Premier League is Liverpool.
2. Accurate assessment of athlete capabilities
Data can be gathered in any way, it is about making sense of the data which gives insights or intelligence. In this technology driven age, information comes at an excessive speed of millions of bytes transferred across the internet. We are clouded by the vast immense information world. Even in the sporting sector, there are countless assessment tools for various sports, skill level, age band. The goal of talent development is to establish proven methods that can streamline and increase selection processes in athletes capabilities. The Functional Movement Screen (FMS™) by Cook7 is by far the most popular fundamental screening tool used to provide an objective assessment of movement in sports performance research and is typically synonymous with the term “functional movement”. This method using fundamental movement skills such as variations of squatting, lunging, jumping, pushing, pulling and bracing helps establish accurate depiction of various sporting movement skills. Sports performance requires more demanding fundamental movement ability in areas such as total body control under increasing load, single leg jumping and landing abilities, and other complex movement challenges that underpin sport performance. Thus, knowing how to apply such information into curating a training plan/program is the challenge for many sports trainers/ coaches.
3. Ability to predict future performance levels
The hardest to establish is the ability to predict future performance levels. There needs to be an aggregated method/system that quantifies results gathered with the same standardisation to do a cross comparison and a correlation. Other than a statistical analysis standpoint. Performance prediction in sport also encompass recover rates, movement patterns, how the human body adapts and adjust to training stimulus etc. Adapting from Timothy Heazlewood, (Prediction vs Reality) a number of studies have attempted to predict future Olympic performances in athletics and swimming based on trends displayed in previous Olympic Games. Some have utilised linear models to plot and predict change, whereas others have utilised multiple curve estimation methods based on inverse, sigmoidal, quadratic, cubic, compound, logistic, growth and exponential functions.
The results indicate the ability to predict performances into the near future based on past performances is possible, however both sets of results derived from athletics and swimming indicate that in many events the improvements in performances were overestimated.
In Conclusion, as a heuristic exercise the derivation of mathematical-statistical models that predict changes in human sporting performance both in the near and distant future occupies definitely the minds of mathematicians and statisticians and if “we get it right ”we will have a crystal ball into the future of sport. The problem is it just takes time to find out how good we are at solving such problems. The success factors in talent identification will take a longitudinal study approach and with the support of sports science, industry experts, the use of technology to speed up correlation processes, we are looking to be able to predict performance outcomes in the coming future. More importantly so is the passion and the continuous effort to see potential in individuals. I am excited to be in this field of experiencing the changes firsthand.