Talent Development : A Practitioner Guide book cover
1st Edition

Talent Development
A Practitioner Guide

ISBN 9781138672529
Published September 14, 2017 by Routledge
224 Pages 28 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The process of talent development (TD) is essential to success in any sport. Drawing on the latest evidence and a considerable experience base, this book dispels myths about talent development and offers practical advice on the TD pathway from pre-school to elite level. Aimed at practitioners and other stakeholders involved in the TD process – including coaches, scientists, administrators, educators, students, parents, policy makers and senior development athletes – this is the only up-to-date practical guide to TD in sport.

Written by experts with more than 20 years’ experience in TD training, coaching and research, it covers key topics from deliberate practice and fundamental movement skills to designing and managing a TD pathway. It also includes contributions from professionals working in a wide range of sports, providing real-world insights into important topics including:

  • the recruitment process
  • academy and apprenticeship preparation
  • the coach–athlete relationship
  • what to do to stay ahead
  • considerations for parents and coaches.

Talent Development: A Practitioner Guide is an indispensable resource for all those interested in talent identification, talent development and coaching practice in elite sport.

Table of Contents


Part 1: Underpinning Talent Development Principles

1. Myths and Truths in Talent Development

Part 2: Developing the Base: Pre-school and Early Preparation

Introduction to Part 2

2. The Essentials of Movement, Confidence and Attitude

3. The Child’s Ideal Approach to Sport: Establishing a Growth Mindset

4. Deliberate Play, Deliberate Practice and Deliberate Preparation

Part 3: Pre-Academy: What to Do Until You Select Your Chosen Sport

Introduction to Part 3

5. Next Steps in Development: Below the Neck

6. Next Steps in Development: Above the Neck

7. Concerns and Considerations for Parents and Coaches

Part 4: Entering the Pathway

Introduction to Part 4

8. The Recruitment Process: Plusses and Pitfalls

9. Academy Preparation: What Works Well (and Doesn’t)

Part 5: Making the Most of Your Academy Apprenticeship

Introduction to Part 5

10. How the Coach/Athlete relationship Can Fly or Founder

11. What Parents and Performers Can Do to Support/Supplement or Replace the Academy?

Part 6: Transitions, Roadblocks and Other Challenges

Introduction to Part 6

12. Preparing for Transitions

13. The Talent Transfer Process: How It Works, How It Could Work Better and How to Make It Work for You

14. The Rocky Road to Success

Part 7: Management Considerations

15. Designing and Operating a Pathway

Part 8: Conclusion

16. What to Do to Stay Ahead

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Dave Collins is Professor of Coaching and Performance at the University of Central Lancashire, UK and Director of Grey Matters Performance Ltd. Dave has published over 300 peer-reviewed articles and more than 60 books and book chapters. From an applied perspective, he has worked with over 60 World or Olympic medallists plus professional sports teams, dancers, musicians and executives in business and public service. As a performer, he was excessively average at high contact sports (at least the way he played them) such as rugby, American football, martial arts and outdoor pursuits. He has coached rugby to national level, is a senior coach in weightlifting, a 5th Dan in karate and a qualified and experienced PE teacher/teacher educator. Dave is a Director of the Rugby Coaches Association, Director of Coaching for iZone Driver Performance and current lead psychology consultant to, amongst others, Chelsea FC and the New Zealand ski and snowboard teams. He is also a Fellow of the Society of Martial Arts, the Zoological Society of London and the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences, an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and an ex-Royal Marine. He is also the proud (and legal) father of five children, spanning 31 to 9, plus a plethora of grandchildren.

Áine MacNamara is a Reader in Elite Performance in the Institute of Coaching and Performance at the University of Central Lancashire, UK. Áine’s background is in physical education and coaching and she has worked with young people in a range of sporting environments as an educator, coach and sports psychology consultant. Her main research interest is in Talent Development (TD) and she has published widely in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters and technical reports. She has consulted with a range of sporting organisations in the UK and Ireland to help them develop Talent Development pathways and policies as well as providing coach and parent education to support the implementation of these ideas. She is the mother to two long-term TD projects called Síofra and Iarlaith who she endeavours to support with an evidence-based approach!


"Whatever your role - manager, coach, parent or performer - making the most of the talent development process is always complex and challenging. Therefore it is good to get a clear and concise road map to work from, and this book offers that. Dave and Áine have a wealth of experience as managers, coaches and parents. They bring knowledge as researchers and practitioners, offering a considered and well-informed but also clear and readable coverage of the development process, stage by stage. This is an informative and useful read that you can go back to time and again as a reference."Neil Bath, Head of Youth Development, Chelsea FC