Over the last twenty years or so there has been a sharp increase in interest from national sports federations and governments in the development of effective elite sport systems, particularly focused on achieving success in the summer and winter Olympic Games. Many countries now have publicly funded elite sports strategies which provide specialist facilities and support staff and often provide direct financial support for athletes. These developments have stimulated academic interest in describing the elite sport systems, analysing the processes by which policy is established and evaluating the impact of these policies on elite athlete success. Far less attention has been placed on the operation of the elite sports systems and on how the system interfaces with the athlete. The aim of this book is to refocus attention on the management and operation of systems designed to deliver elite success.
The book draws on the theoretical literature in implementation, organisation theory, leadership and complexity. This provides an initial context for analysis and a stimulus for theory development around key questions such as:
- How do coaches manage their relationship with athletes?
- How does talent identification operate in practice?
- Do coaches fulfil the role of gatekeeper between the athlete and other elements of the sports system e.g. sports science support?
- How do managers, support staff and athletes interpret the expectations placed on them?
The first part of the book focuses on aspects of the effectiveness of elite sports systems and the second explores aspects of systems operation focused on the interface between the athlete and the sport development system, and cross-cutting themes within the book include the management of talent identification and coach development. This is illuminating reading for any student, researcher or practitioner working in sport development, sport management or sports coaching.
1. Introduction Part 1: Making Systems Work: Mechanisms of management 2. The Athlete Entourage and the Culture of Performance Measurement: Caring Sister and Big Brother 3. Modernisation and Elite Sport Development: Talent identification and coach development 4. Nordic Elite Sport: The ecology of talent development 5. Why has Malaysia not Won a Medal at the Olympics? 6. France and Change of the State-Centred System Part 2: Delivering Athlete Support 7. Organising and Managing Core Processes in Elite Athlete Management: The case of Norwegian cross country skiing 8. Creating an Elite Sport Environment: A holistic view 9. Selecting Leaders: ‘Getting the right people in the right places’ 10. Talent Identification and Development in Germany: State of play and current tasks 11. Integrating Micro and Meso: How sport systems can deal with career transitions of athletes