2nd Edition

Talent Development A Practitioner and Parents Guide

By Dave Collins, Aine MacNamara Copyright 2022
    272 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    272 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The process of talent development (TD) is essential to success in any sport. Drawing on the latest evidence and a considerable experience base, the second edition of 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, policymakers and senior development athletes – this is an up-to-date practical guide to TD in sport.

    Written by experts with more than 20 years of 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, and
    • considerations for parents and coaches.

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

    Part I: Underpinning Talent Development Principles

    1. Myths and Truths in Talent Development

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

    Introduction to Part II

    2. The Essentials of Movement, Confidence and Attitude

    3. The Child’s Ideal Approach to Sport

    4. Deliberate Play, Deliberate Practice and Deliberate Preparation

    Part III: Pre-Academy: What to Do Till You Select Your Chosen Sport

    Introduction to Part III

    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 IV: Entering the Pathway

    Introduction to Part IV

    8. The Recruitment Process; Making Pragmatic Decisions

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

    Part V: Making the Most of your Academy Apprenticeship

    Introduction to Part V

    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 VI: Transitions, Roadblocks and Other Challenges

    Introduction to Part VI

    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 VII: Management Considerations

    15. Designing and Operating a Pathway

    Part VIII: Conclusion

    16. What to Do to Stay Ahead


    Dave Collins is a Professorial Fellow in Human Performance Science at University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom, and Director of Grey Matters Performance Ltd. He is a qualified PE teacher, coach and psychologist and has worked with over 80 World or Olympic medallists plus professional sports teams, dancers, musicians and executives in business and public service.

    Áine MacNamara is an Associate Professor in Elite Performance at the Dublin City University, Ireland. Her background is in physical education, coaching and talent development and she has worked with young people in a range of sporting environments as an educator, coach and consultant.