Changing the Game Project: “Our Biggest Mistake: Talent Selection Instead of Talent Identification”

Many youth sports coaches claim to be great talent identifiers, and point to the results of their 11 year all star team as proof. Yet they are not talent identifiers. They are talent selectors. The difference could not be more striking, or more damaging to our country’s future talent pool in many sports.

Photo Credit to: Changing the Game Project

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Many youth sports coaches claim to be great talent identifiers, and point to the results of their 11 year all star team as proof. Yet they are not talent identifiers. They are talent selectors. The difference could not be more striking, or more damaging to our country’s future talent pool in many sports.

Talent selection is the culling of players with the current ability to participate and be successful in events taking place in the near future. Talent identification, on the other hand, is the prediction of future performance based upon an evaluation of current physical, technical, tactical and psychological qualities. Talent selection is pretty simple; talent identification is an art. One yields great results today; the other builds elite athletes and winning teams for the future.

Our current win at all costs youth sports culture promotes talent selection. When a coach is pressured to win by parents or a club, or when he or she feels the need to win to serve their own ego, that coach becomes a talent selector. When you are focused on talent selection, you are picking athletes to help you win now, and cutting ones that will not. You are looking at current athleticism, technical ability, and traits to help achieve short term success. You naturally select the biggest, strongest and fastest young athletes, and play them extensive minutes. You limit playing time for the kids who are not up to snuff, and tell them they need to work harder, get tougher, etc., if they want to play more. You yell at them because they cannot get to the ball quick enough, or cannot shoot well enough to score. You tell them that this type of pressure is what they will face when they are older, so they better get used to it now.

Then, according to the latest statistics, 70% of them quit organized sports by the age of 13!

Changing the Game Project Original Full Article can be found by clicking here.

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