Utilising a range of relevant academic literature critically analyse either a past or present talent identification programme concluding with possible recommendations. This assignment will aim to look in depth at the talent identification programme Talent Search. There will then be further critical discussion and analysis of the programme and its positives and negatives. To conclude there will be a discussion on the further recommendations that could improve the programme.
The terminology used in the field of talent identification can be confusing, mainly due to the different terms adopted in different countries and their systems (Williams and Reilly 2000, Gulbin 2002). It is therefore important to define what is meant by some of the terms that will be used. For this assignment talent identification is a general term that describes the scientific processes used to identify talent. The talent identification programme that will be discussed is the Australian Talent Search.
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Talent search was a programme developed by the Australian Institute of Sport in 1994 following the announcement that Sydney would host the 2000 Olympic Games. Before discussing the programme itself it is important to outline a brief history of sport in Australia and outline the reasons for introducing the programme. Generally speaking, historically, Australia had little or inconsistent success in sport. There was limited funding from the Australian government in the 1950s.
Australian governments applied a minimalist policy, essentially leaving sport alone and it was not until poor performances in the Olympics that the creation the Australian Institute of Sport in 1980 occurred. There was a significant structural transformation of sport in Australia from 1980 onwards. Suddenly it became important for Australia to compete with reasonable hopes of success across a much wider range of sports than ever before. (Cooke 2007).
The ideology that sporting success equalled nation success was strongly engrained in the Australian people at the time and the quest for gold medals and world championship titles became closely allied to national pride and wellbeing (Cooke 2007). The metamorphosis was due to a drastic change in government policy. There was a large shift in attitude which meant that federal and state governments would fund, guard, promote, reform, supervise and regulate sport. Just one month after the IOC awarded Sydney the 2000 Games, senior sports officials unveiled a $420 million strategy to win 20 gold medals in 2000.
Williams and Reilly (2000) argue that sport became as important to the government as education, health and foreign relations. It has been argued that his transformation has been largely as a result of programmes like Talent Search (Digel 2006). 1994 Australia awarded 2000 Olympic Games talent search expanded to include: swimming, cycling, athletics, canoe/kayak, water polo, weightlifting and triathlon 2006 expanded to include: boxing, tae-kwan-do, beach volleyball, shooting, diving, badminton, judo, short track speedskating, and skeleton bob (Aus$20 million budget
The programme unified various sporting organisation and institutions under one roof. Digel 2006 With a population tiny in comparison with many other nations, it became imperative that no-one was missed in the relentless search for talent. New, more scientific methods of identification were brought into play. Cooke 2007 As the General Manager, National Talent Identification and Development at the Australian Sports Commission, Jason Gulbin, says: ‘We can’t just rely on the gut feelings of coaches and scouts because with a small population and we need to maximise the probability of getting a result.
Instead of 10 people vying for selection in any particular event for our well populated competitors, we may have only three – so those three had better be good Cooke 2007 Most funding goes towards elite sport. Stewart 2004 In 1980 they established an institute of sport. Sports targeted for increased general investment in 1989: * swimming * rowing * cycling * canoeing * hockey * basketball * athletics * gymnastics Why does sporting success lead to success as a nation as a whole?
As Jarvie (1993) suggests, sport offers Australians important symbolic images of themselves as egalitarian and independent, while considerable evidence suggests that sport affords Aborigines and women social recognition (Phillips 1992; Tatz 1995). The search for talent sometimes involves elite performers in one sport switching to another. For Dana Faletic, an Olympic medallists in rowing, cycling had been a cross-training and social exercise, yet when she tested in the AIS laboratory her results on the bike exceeded every other female tested in the previous 25 years.
She is now a prospect for qualification in the time trial for Beijing. Cooke 2007 Cycling Talent Identification in Australia The criteria initially is that they had some background in sport, competitive sport, and really, that they had some sort of explosive or speed kind of background. So, we’re looking at transferring those sorts of attributes of speed, power, to this event, which is very much requiring those elements. Testing by doing jumps. Success “For the kids we identify in our programs, about a quarter of those will go on to have success at state to national level in the sport.
So that’s about 25%. Now, of those again – of all the testing that we’ve done, thus far we’ve got one Olympic gold medallist. So it’s a very small percentage that actually ends up going the whole, whole way to the top. But hopefully we’ll have a few more in 2000. ” Dr Deborah Hoare, Co-ordinator, National Talent Search Program, Australian Institute of Sport Friday 19th September 1997 interview with ABC Radio “The Sports Factor” * Between 1988 and 2008 Australian athlete won 218 Olympic medals * Talent Search athletes won 3 of these: * Megan Still 1996 Rowing – gold Sarah Carrigan 2004 cycling time trial – gold * Women’s K4 500m – 2008 bronze (Hannah Davies rec 1999, Lyndsie Fogarty rec 1999 and Lisa Oldenhof rec 1995) * 1. 3% of overall total number of medals * TID has performed its function when athletes pass into elite senior competition; whether the athlete then proves to be capable of producing expert performances is both irrelevant and beyond the predictive capacity of the TID process (Gulbin, 2007) Justin Gulbin, head of the Australian Sports Commission National Talent Identification Program.
Bradley McGee is an Olympic medallist in cycling and a professional in Europe. When he was at a talent camp in 1991 at the age of 14 he did not match up to his peers in performance, but he showed by his attitude and determination, backed by some scientific data, that his will to achieve was greater than some of the others. ‘ Cooke 2007 But while scientific testing can vastly reduce the possibility of a potentially elite athlete being overlooked, there is general agreement that the experience and gut feelings of people on the ground will always play a part.
Gulbin says that science’s role is to separate the good performers from the potentially great ones. Cooke 2007 Advanced testing and selection procedures not only assist in the search for international success but can contribute towards more competitive environments, and therefore improved spectacles, in professional national competitions such as the AFL. Cooke 2007 While scientific testing and measurements will play an increasingly important part in talent identification, the expertise of the coach or talent scout will always be needed to assess the imponderable ‘It’ factor.
Cooke 2007 the Australian sports commission co-operates with the National Elite Sport Committee and the States to facilitate the avenue to success. The main talent identification programme is Talent search which is a three phase programme that relies on a strong network of schools collaborating for its execution. All of the this is under the coordination of the AIS. Chelladurai, and Madella 2006 Phase 1 is essentially talent identification. Screening is carried out using different testing secondary scool students.
A small selection (2%) of the subjects are then selected for phase 2 whichi is aimed at specific sports. This is done through sport specific testing that is far more advanced than in stage 1. After this a restricted number of athletes are selected to be on the talent development programme which requires them to train at specialist institutions around the country. Chelladurai and Madella 2006 This method of mass screening has been successful at national and internation level ( Gulbin 2001, Hann 1990) the approach can be demanding of time and resources and requires long term commitment from the sport.
It is argued that through this networking approach and its multiple steps, it has been possible to avoid the alienating components that were typical of the centralised model of the old communist states, even if the role of the central state remains crucial. Chelladurai and Madella 2006 Oakley and Green (2001) The AIS is often identified as a paramount example of an effective specialised intitute that is able to facilitate the persuit of excellence. Many other countries have followed this style in search of success. Reason for success of this kind of method:
Effective communication network and clear understanding and definition of roles of the participating agencies. System for statistical identification. Well-developed facilities Targeting resources on a limited number of sports with higher acess of medals or success. All points above are Oakley and Green (2001) The difficulty of finding potential future sports champions not only lies in the structure of talent itself, but also in the fact that the construct high performance sport on a whole ” is characterized by steadily increasing complexity” ( Digel 2006) They also conducted talent transfer programmes. 8-28years old who poses well developed skills and fitness in one sport are transferred into other sports. Limitations are the imbalance between donor and recipient sports. Not good for early specialisation sports like swimming or gymnastics. (baker and Horton 2004) while theoretical rates of talent development have resulted in the 10 year generalisation benchmark of sporting expertise ( Ericsson et al 1993) in practice 28% of Australian high performance athletes who specialise late in the sporting careers can reach senior nation representation within 4 years. Oldenziel, Gagne and Gulbin 2004) positives of this is that you eliminate maturation differences. Akland, Elliot and Bloomfield. In 2002 AIS sought to boost the womans senior sprit cycling team by recruiting non cyclists with explosive leg power characteristics. 26 out of 247 where put into the programme. Akland, Elliot and Bloomfield. References Akland, Elliot and Bloomfield. 2009. Applied anatomy and biomechanics in sport. Second ed. Human Kinetics. US. Baker, J. & Horton, S. (in press). Aging and involvement in sport and physical activity.
In Crocker (Ed. ) Sport and Exercise Psychology: A Canadian Perspective (2nd Edition). Pearson Booth. 1995. Sports Policy in Australia: Right, Just and Rational? The Australian Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 1 Chelladurai and Madella 2006. Human resource management in Olympic sport organisations. United States. Human Kinetics. Cooke. 2007. “Gut feel” measures where science cannot go. Australian Sports Commission. Sports Coach Volume 29 Number 3. Digel. H. 2006. Resources for world class performance in sport – a comparison of different sports systems.
Singapore: Symposium on sports sciences. Green, M. (2006). Policy Transfer, Lesson Drawing and Perspectives on Elite Sport Development Systems. unpublished manuscript. Loughborough University. Jarvie, G. (1993) ‘Sport, nationalism and cultural identity’, in L. Allison (ed. ) The Changing Politics of Sport, Manchester University Press, Manchester. Oldenziel K, Gagne F, Gulbin JP (2004). Factors Affecting the Rate of Athlete Development from Novice to Senior Elite: How Applicable is the 10-year Rule?
Paper presented at the 2004 Pre-Olympic Congress—Sport Science Through the Ages. Thessaloniki, Greece, August 6–11. Phillips, D. (1992) Australian Women at the Olympic Games, Kangaroo Press, Sydney. Stewart. 2004. Australian Sport: Better by design? The Evolution of Australaian Sports Policy. Routledge. Oxon. Tatz, C. (1995) Obstacle Race: Aborigines in Sport, University of New South Wales Press, Sydney. Williams and Reilly. 2000. Talent Identification and development in soccer. Journal of sprt sciences.