Talent Identification and Development in Sport: International Perspectives, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Talent Identification and Development in Sport

International Perspectives, 1st Edition

Edited by Joseph Baker, Steve Cobley, Jörg Schorer


200 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

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Identifying talent in athletes and developing that ability to its fullest potential is a central concern of sport scientists, sports coaches and sports policy makers. This book offers a comprehensive synthesis of current knowledge in talent identification and development in sport, from the biological basis of ability to the systems and processes within sport through which that ability is nurtured.

Written by a team of leading international experts, the book explores key factors and issues in contemporary sport, including:

  • genetics
  • secondary factors such as birth date, cultural context and population size
  • perceptual motor skill acquisition and expertise
  • sports development policy
  • in-depth case studies, including European soccer, East African running and US pro sports.

With an emphasis throughout on practical implications and processes for all those working in sport, the book offers an authoritative evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of contemporary systems for identifying and developing talent in sport. This is important reading for any student, researcher or practitioner with an interest in skill acquisition, youth sport, elite sport, sports coaching or sports development.

Table of Contents

Preface 1. Identification & Development of Sport Talent: A Brief Introduction to a Growing Field of Research and Practice Steve Cobley, Jörg Schorer and Joseph Baker Section One: Theoretical and conceptual models for understanding talent identification and development 2. Do genes predict potential? Genetic factors and athletic success Joseph Baker 3. Building talent development systems on mechanistic principles: Making them better at what makes them good ÁineMacNamara and Dave Collins 4. Environmental influences on early development in sports experts Sean Horton 5. What skill acquisition and expertise research tells us about talent identification and development Damian Farrow 6. Dynamical systems theory as a multi-disciplinary framework for understanding expertise and talent development in sport Ian Renshaw, Keith Davids, Elissa Phillips and Hugo Kerherve Section Two: International case studies of talent identification and development 7. Talent Identification and Development in Women’s Artistic Gymnastics: The Talent Opportunity Program (TOPs) William A. Sands 8. Who are the superstars of tomorrow? Talent development in Dutch soccer Marije T. Elferink-Gemser and Chris Visscher 9. Talent identification, selection and development in UK Junior Rugby League: An evolving process Kevin Till, Chris Chapman, Steve Cobley, John O’Hara and Carleton Cooke 10. Back to the future – A case report of the ongoingevaluationprocess of the German handball talent selection and development system. Jörg Schorer, Dirk Büsch, Lennart Fischer, Jan Pabst, Rebecca Rienhoff, Peter Sichelschmidt, and Bernd Strauß 11. Explaining African dominance in running Yannis Pitsiladis 12. Applying Talent Identification Programs at a System Wide Level: The Evolution of Australia’s National Program Jason Gulbin 13. Lessons learned: The future of research in talent identification and development Joseph Baker, Jörg Schorer and Steve Cobley

About the Editors


Joseph Baker is with the Lifespan Health and Performance Laboratory in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, Canada and a visiting research fellow at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK. His research focuses on optimal human development, particularly issues affecting the acquisition of sport expertise.

Steve Cobley is a senior lecturer in skill acquisition and sport psychology within the Carnegie Faculty at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK. His specific research interests focus upon developmental factors that constrain learning, attainment and performance.

Jörg Schorer is a research associate at the Institute of Sport Science at the Westfälische Wilhelms-University Münster, Germany. His research interests are not only within the field of talent identification and development, but also in expertise in sport, perceptual motor skills and sport psychology.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SPORTS & RECREATION / Sports Psychology
SPORTS & RECREATION / Coaching / General