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Athletes strive to reach expert performance in sport. However, evidence has shown that the talent development environmental factors significantly influence elite performance. This review study aimed to identify and classify the environmental factors that are essential for effective talent development in sport. A number of talent development environmental factors (e.g., media coverage, sport participation rate, birthplace, long-term development, and quality preparation) emerged from the literature. They were then grouped into three categories: milieu, individuals, and provisions. Implications for the practical practice and future research regarding effective talent development were provided.
Talent Development Environmental Factors in Sport: A Review and Taxonomic 4
Classification 5
Chunxiao Li, C. K. John Wang, and Do Young Pyun 6
Nanyang Technological University 7
Author Note 10
Chunxiao Li, C. K. John Wang, and Do Young Pyun are with National Institute of 11
Education, Nanyang Technological University. 12
Correspondence concerning this manuscript should address Chunxiao Li, Physical 13
Education and Sports Science, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological 14
University, 1 Nanyang Walk, Singapore 637616, Tel: +65 8509 1944, E-mail: 15 16
Authors would like to thank anonymous reviewers for their formative comments on 17
the early draft of this manuscript. 18
Citation: Li, C., Wang, C. K. J., & Pyun, D. Y. (in press). Talent development environmental 21
factors in sport: A review and taxonomic classification. Quest. 22
Abstract 1
Athletes strive to reach expert performance in sport. However, evidence has shown that the 2
talent development (TD) environmental factors significantly influence elite performance. 3
This review study aimed to identify and classify the environmental factors that are essential 4
for effective TD in sport. A number of TD environmental factors (e.g., media coverage, sport 5
participation rate, birthplace, long-term development, and quality preparation) emerged from 6
the literature. They were then grouped into three categories: milieu, individuals, and 7
provisions. Implications for the practical practice and future research regarding effective TD 8
were provided. 9
Keywords: expert performance, giftedness, intrapersonal factors, review 10
Talent Development Environmental Factors in Sport: A Review and Taxonomic 1
Classification 2
Talent identification (TI) in sport refers to the process of recognizing current 3
athletes with potential for attaining expert performance (Vaeyens, Lenoir, Williams, & 4
Philippaerts, 2008; Williams, 2000). Talent development (TD), on the other hand, concerns 5
developing athletes into world-class performers through a series of intervention programs 6
such as physical training. To pursuit excellence in sport, many sport organizations have 7
either initiated and/or adopted TI/TD schemes (Abbott & Collins, 2004; Baker & Schorer, 8
2010). While developing athletes into elite performers may be attributed to TI programs 9
(Vaeyens, Gullich, Warr, & Philippaerts, 2009; Wolstencroft, 2002), it is important to note 10
that the scope of the current study was limited to investigation of athletic TD. 11
TD is more critical for athletes to reach world-class level of performance (Abbott, 12
Collins, Sowerby, & Martindale, 2007; Gagné, 2004; Vaeyens et al., 2008). The most 13
significant assumption of TD is that innate talents are not automatically transformed into 14
elite performers (Howe, Davidson, & Sloboda, 1998; Tranckle, 2004). In line with this, 15
athletes are required to acquire key attributes through practices in order to perform 16
optimally in their sports. As such, TD implies that athletes need more conducive 17
environments to realize their potential and retain expert performance (Abbott & Collins, 18
2004; Durand-Bush & Salmela, 2002; Williams, 2000; Williams & Reilly, 2000). 19
Therefore, it is of significance to understand the TD environment in which athletes are 20
situated. In view of that, the purpose of this study was to review TD literature and 21
summarize the environmental factors that could influence athletes’ development. 22
Understanding the concept of talent development environment (TDE) provided the basis 23
for the conduct of this review study. 24
Definition of Talent Development Environment 1
TDE refers to “all aspects of the coaching situation” (Martindale, Collins, & Daubney, 2
2005, p. 354). From a holistic perspective, Henriksen (2010) advanced this definition as: 3
A dynamic system comprising (a) an athlete's immediate surroundings at the micro-4
level where athletic and personal development take place, (b) the interrelations 5
between these surroundings, (c) at the macro-level, the larger context in which these 6
surroundings are embedded, and (d) the organizational culture of the sports club or 7
team, which is an integrative factor of the athletic talent development environment's 8
effectiveness in helping young talented athletes to develop into senior elite athletes 9
(p.161). 10
Gagné (2011) provided an operational definition of TDE under the Differentiated Model of 11
Giftedness and Talent (DMGT). According to the DMGT (Gagné, 2003, 2004, 2011), TD is a 12
transformation process of aptitude into outstanding abilities in a specific domain over a long-13
term. Besides chance factors, two sets of catalysts consisting of intrapersonal and 14
environmental factors have impacts on the TD process. Particularly, environmental factors 15
consist of three components: milieu, individuals, and provisions. Milieu represents 16
macroscopic physical factors (e.g., birthplace), social-cultural factors (e.g., popularity of a 17
sport within a culture), and a socioeconomic status (e.g., family income). Individuals refers to 18
those people or significant others who may impose positive or negative impacts on the 19
process of athletes’ development. Provisions include all forms of TD services and programs 20
such as a balance training program (Gagné, 2003, 2004). The DMGT has been applied in 21
most occupational domains, and its applicability in sport is gaining acceptance (e.g., Tranckle 22
& Cushion, 2006; Vaeyens et al., 2008). For example, Gulbin and his colleagues (2010) 23
devised a survey based on the model to capture a plausible account of TD. 24
Thus, the current review adopted the working definition of TDE, conceptualized by Gagné 1
(2011) to better understand the role of the environmental factors in TD. 2
Role of Talent Development Environment 3
It is clear that the TD environmental factors influence expert performance (Araújo & 4
Davids, 2011; Henriksen, 2010; Gould & Maynard, 2009; Martindale et al., 2010). The TD 5
environmental factors are the most direct controllable part in the course of developing elite 6
athletes (Martindale, Collins, & Abraham, 2007). Expert acquisition is the process of 7
interaction between the learner and the environmental factors from the perspectives of 8
developmental psychology (Barab & Plucker, 2002; Bronfenbrenner, 1999, 2005). Parallel to 9
this, sport expertise is acquired through successful adaptation of numerous environmental 10
constraints or factors as well as experiences in training and competition (Davids & Baker, 11
2007; Phillips, Davids, Renshaw, & Portus, 2010). It is highlighted that rather than mere 12
focusing on intrapersonal factors such as athletes’ physical traits, the TD environmental 13
factors should be identified and enhanced to effectively develop talented athletes (Bailey et 14
al., 2011). 15
Purpose of Study 16
Given the importance of the TD environmental factors in developing talented athletes, 17
only a few studies (e.g., Araújo & Davis, 2009; García Bengoechea, 2002; Horton, 2012; 18
Martindale et al., 2005), have been conducted to review the environmental factors shaping 19
TD in sport. In addition, the previous work was neither comprehensive nor up-to-date. As TD 20
literature continues to progress, further review on more recent studies and trends on TDE are 21
warranted (c.f., Martindale, Collins, Douglas, & Whike, 2012). Thus, a thorough and updated 22
literature review is necessary to provide researchers with a collective understanding about 23
what has been done within the field (Boote & Beile, 2005). Furthermore, past studies failed to 24
give a classification of the TD environmental factors in a systematic way. Developing a 25
taxonomic classification that summarizes a range of the environmental factors is one of the 1
most important theoretical advances. For example, Arnold and Fletcher (2012) developed the 2
taxonomy of organizational stressors, which solved the conceptual and theoretical issues in 3
that filed. Similarly, developing the taxonomy of TDE provides researchers with an 4
applicable framework to classify environmental factors and build a foundation for 5
developing/refining instruments to benefit practice in TD. Therefore, this study aimed to 6
review and classify the environmental factors that are significant for effective TD in sport. 7
Talent Development Environmental Factors: Milieu 8
Milieu such as sport culture, sporting policies, socioeconomic status, education, and 9
birthplaces were discussed in this section. Luck/chance, an interesting environmental factor, 10
was not considered in this study as little implications can be drawn from it (Gagné, 2003). It 11
should be noted that some factors can influence participants at a more macro level (e.g., 12
culture and policy) as compared to other factors (e.g., birthplace and education), having more 13
overarching and systematical impacts on the TD process (cf., Gagné, 2003; Martindale et al., 14
2007). 15
Sport culture 16
The factor of sport culture has been understudied though it is a significant indicator in 17
explaining the development of expertise. Baker and Horton (2004) reviewed factors that 18
influenced the acquisition of high levels of sport performance. They suggested that high 19
values placed on a particular sport in a culture/country have tremendous effects on the sports 20
achievements (Baker & Horton, 2004). One example is ice hockey in Canada. Ice hockey has 21
been a national sport in Canada, producing a large number of star players and winning many 22
international champion titles. The popularity of ice hockey in this country could be due to the 23
vast media coverage and extremely high participation rates. Similar examples are downhill 24
skiing in Austria and table tennis in China (Baker & Horton, 2004). Chinese athletes 25
development was influenced by the country culture such as harmony with difference and 1
“persons of honor” (a tough and aggressive character) according to Si and his colleagues 2
(2011) narrative findings. In addition, culture at organizations and club levels also had a 3
significant impact on athletic TD as evidenced in Henriskens (2010) case studies. Thus, 4
there is a need to consider local sport culture in developing sport expertise (Davids & Baker, 5
2007; Henriksen, Stambulova, & Roessler, 2010a; Ryba, Stambulova, & Schinke, 2013). 6
Sporting policy 7
Other than sport culture, the government policy or strategy is also an influential factor 8
for attaining sport expertise. For instance, Vincze, Fügedi, Dancs, and Bognár (2008) used a 9
mixed research method (i.e., document analysis, field work, and in-depth interview) to 10
examine the relationship between the sport policies and TD in soccer. They discovered that 11
the lack of success in Hungarian football was mainly attributed to the Hungarian 12
government’s failure to establish effective sport policies or governing strategies. Holt (2002) 13
used the same research approach to compare TD policies of soccer between Canada and the 14
UK. He found different approaches on implementation of official policies and varying values 15
of coaches between the two countries. English coaches received more in-service coach 16
education than their Canadian counterparts, and these discrepancies may have led to more 17
elite soccer players being nurtured in the UK than in Canada. De Bosscher, Heyndels, De 18
Knop and van Bottenburgs (2008) document analysis showed that policies had an impact on 19
elite sport development. The aforementioned examples hence demonstrate that sport policies 20
need to be well established and systematically implemented to guarantee sporting success. 21
Socioeconomic status 22
Sport participation is a prerequisite for TD and is strongly associated with the 23
socioeconomic status (Bailey et al., 2010). For example, Lin-Yang, Telama and Laaksos 24
(1996) longitudinal study found that athletes from middle-class families received additional 25
tangible support from their family members. A survey study supplemented with interviews 1
(Rowley & Graham, 1999) found that the high dropout rate from sport participation was more 2
likely evidenced in lower income families. Hayman et al. (2011) employed the term social 3
exclusion (social inequality) to describe the phenomenon about under participation in TD 4
programs among athletes who came from low income families. Obviously, social exclusion 5
can undermine sport participation as a result of the relative lack of financial resources (Elling 6
& Claringbould, 2005). These findings are useful for policy makers to reduce or eradicate 7
barriers to sport participation faced by athletes from low-income families (Collins & Buller, 8
2003). 9
Birthplace 10
Birthplace refers to the place where athletes grow up. Growing evidence from North 11
America (i.e., Canada and USA) showed that there is a birthplace effect in TD (e.g., Baker & 12
Logan, 2007; Côté, MacDonald, Baker, & Abernethy, 2006; MacDonald, Cheung, Côté, & 13
Abernethy, 2009). In general, these survey studies suggested that elite athletes were more 14
likely to be born in not too small (less than 1000 inhabitants) or too large (more than 500,000 15
inhabitants) communities although a discrepancy about the optimal size of communities did 16
exist (Baker, Cobley, Montelpare, Wattie, & Raught, 2010). 17
Why are small to medium sized birthplaces favored for nurturing more elite athletes? 18
As illustrated by MacDonald, King, Côté, and Abernethy (2009), a reason could be that 19
talents from small communities received more social support than those from larger cities. 20
Moreover, Baker and Logan (2007) added a note that smaller communities usually provided 21
safer environments and more abundant recreational spaces. In other words, athletes in small 22
to medium sized communities are likely to gain more developmental advantages for future 23
development (e.g., Baker, Schorer, Cobley, Schimmer, & Wattie, 2009; Weissensteiner, 24
Abernethy, & Farrow, 2009). However, such birthplace effects may not be found across the 25
globe. For example, Bruner and his colleagues (2011) survey study examined the birthplace 1
effect on developing international ice hockey players across four different countries (i.e., 2
Canada, Finland, Sweden, and USA),and found that no birthplace effect was observed in 3
Sweden and Finland. This result was consistent with the survey finding by Baker et al. (2009). 4
These two studies noted a possible explanation for the conflicting findings, which is the 5
difference in sport cultures or systems across different countries. Thus, this highlights the 6
need to consider broader social and cultural factors rather than simply examine the birthplace 7
effect only. 8
Education and schooling 9
Schools play an important role in establishing an appropriate setting to introduce sport 10
(Sallis et al., 1997). For example, schools offer a wide range of sport programs to develop 11
talents. According to the survey study by Côté et al. (2006), the types of school attended (e.g., 12
independent/private or dependent/public schools) and the geographic locations of schools 13
(e.g., accessibility of facilities and equipments) influenced TD. Through document analysis, 14
Houlihan (2000) explained that the school made possible contributions to future elite success, 15
or at least, increased the pool of talents. 16
On the other hand, education can be an obstacle in the development of elite sport 17
(Holt & Morley, 2004). Nowadays, in most countries, many youth athletes are required to 18
keep training while continuing their education. The term dual career (e.g., Corrado, Tessitore, 19
Capranica, & Rauter, 2012) was used to describe this condition. However, a dual career can 20
be a big challenge for most athletes according to the interview findings by Durand-Bush and 21
Salmela (2002). Christensen and Sørensens (2009) interview study provided further insights 22
that the conflicting demand can result in lower academic achievements and stress among 23
youth athletes and even a high dropout rate in sport. Consequently, it should be 24
acknowledged that satisfying the demands of both schooling and training concurrently is 25
difficult. From a macro perspective, a more flexible education or school system (e.g., 1
homework deadline, training camps, and competition) is vital in creating a healthier TD 2
environment (Christensen & Sørensen, 2009; Houlihan, 2000). Moreover, Larsen, Alfermann, 3
Henriksen, and Christensen (2013) suggested that talented athletes should be developed or 4
prepared (e.g., life skills) to cope with dual careers. 5
Talent Development Environmental Factors: Individuals 6
Studies on significant individuals/others (i.e., parents, coaches, support staff, siblings, 7
and peers) in TD environment were reviewed in this section. To optimize the developmental 8
path, these important individuals/others, as perceived by athletes, should interact and 9
collaborate in a supportive way (Carlson, 2011; Henriksen, 2010; Johnson et al., 2008; 10
Pummell, Harwood, & Lavallee, 2008; Wolfenden & Holt, 2005). 11
Parents 12
Many studies have examined the role of parents in TD. Most of these studies adopted 13
interviews or surveys as instruments, which were then conducted among elite athletes, 14
parents, coaches, or a combination of two or more groups to investigate parents’ roles in 15
developing talents (Bloom, 1985; Carlson, 2011; Gould, Dieffenbach, & Moffatt, 2002; 16
Gulbin et al., 2010; Hayman et al., 2011; Pummell et al., 2008). Overall, parents provided 17
tangible (e.g., financial support and transportation) and social/emotional support (e.g., 18
disciplined involvement, encouragement, and setbacks) for their children (Bloom, 1985; 19
Carlson, 2011; Gould et al., 2002; Gulbin et al., 2010; Hayman et al., 2011; Wolfenden & 20
Holt, 2005). In addition, other studies indicated that parents provided practical support in 21
sports (Gould, Lauer, Rolo, Jannes, & Pennisi, 2008; Holt & Morley, 2004; Pummell et al., 22
2008). 23
From a longitudinal perspective, parents played different critical roles and provided 24
various support during the different stages of development. Qualitative interviews (e.g., Côté, 25
1999; Durand-Bush & Salmela, 2002) showed that parents’ roles underwent gradual changes 1
from leaders to followers during the developmental process. Within a family, parents 2
exhibited different functions of roles in developing athletes (Holt & Dunn, 2004; Wolfenden 3
& Holt, 2005). For example, Wolfenden and Holts (2005) interview study highlighted that 4
mothers were more involved in the aspect of providing emotional and tangible support for 5
elite English tennis players than fathers. In addition, family structure can also influence sport 6
participation. A large scale survey conducted by Fallon and Bowles (1997) discovered that a 7
family with two working parents could better support TD than a single-earner family. 8
On the contrary, parents were sometimes perceived as a source of pressure, inhibiting 9
athletes’ development especially during the later stages of development (Côté, 1999; Lauer, 10
Gould, Roman, & Pierce, 2010a, 2010b). A study conducted by Lauer et al. (2010b) in which 11
nine elite tennis players, their parents, and coaches were interviewed found that tennis 12
athletes often felt increased adult pressure during their middle years of development. These 13
pressures include over-pushing on development, emphasizing on winning, and using a 14
controlling behavior to reach goals (Lauer et al., 2010b). This was further substantiated by 15
Gould et al. (2006). Their interview study revealed that parents were overemphasizing 16
winning and having unrealistic expectations on their children (Gould et al., 2006). 17
Coaches and support staff 18
Coaches also play critical roles in the TD environment given the interview results 19
(e.g., Holt & Morley, 2004; Johnson et al., 2008; Morgan & Giacobbi, 2006). Providing high 20
quality training programs and sessions including informational support is a main task for a 21
coach. Besides quality training, a coach may also fulfill roles in providing tangible support 22
and building a good relationship with athletes (e.g., Johnson et al., 2008; Morgan & Giacobbi, 23
2006). A strong coach-athlete relationship should be established especially during the later 24
phases of development. A good coach-athlete relationship is formed by (a) building mutual 25
trust and respect; (b) understanding the needs of an athlete; and (c) caring for an athlete as a 1
person rather than just a performer (Gould, Greenleaf, Chung, & Guinan, 2002). A high 2
quality training program is also supported by a group of support staff (e.g., fitness training 3
coach, sport psychologist, nutritionist, physiotherapist, and exercise physiologist). These 4
support staff are valuable resources particularly in the later stages of TD such as during the 5
investment period (Durand-Bush & Salmela, 2002; Morgan & Giacobbi, 2006). 6
Siblings and friends 7
The impact of siblings on TD has been explored less in the literature, as compared to 8
parents. This can be probably due to the fact that sibling is not a significant indicator of TD, 9
and that not every athlete has brothers or sisters. Interestingly, siblings may influence the 10
choice of sports during the early years of sport participation (Gulbin et al., 2010; Holt & 11
Morley, 2004). Gulbin et al.’s (2010) survey study found that young athletes were more 12
likely to participate in sports that their older siblings were playing. Using the Bloom’s (1985) 13
stage model, Côté (1999) examined the roles of siblings in the different stages of 14
development through qualitative interviews. He found that older siblings had positive effects 15
on athletes’ decision to specialize in a specific sport usually during 13 to 15 years old (Côté, 16
1999). In the investment period, however, bitterness and jealousy may sometimes emerge 17
among younger siblings, causing negative impacts on athletes’ athletic development (Côté, 18
1999). 19
An athlete is more likely to make friends in a sporting context according to Carlsons 20
(2011) observations and interviews. Friends or peers play a critical role in supporting 21
athletes’ long-term involvement and commitment in sports. Patrick et al.s (1999) interview 22
study also noted that sport participation provided opportunities to make friends, which in turn 23
enhanced social satisfaction and contributed to commitment in sport. In addition, several 24
interview studies (e.g., Holt & Morley, 2004; Henriksen, 2010; Johnson et al., 2008; 25
Martindale et al., 2007; Morgan & Giacobbi, 2006; Weissensteiner et al., 2009) showed that 1
athletes received informational (e.g., sporting experiences from role models or seniors), 2
emotional (e.g., encouragement), and self-esteem (e.g., competence) support from their peers 3
or friends. On the contrary, other qualitative studies (e.g., Keegan, Spray, Harwood, & 4
Lavallee, 2010; Vazou, Ntoumanis, & Duda, 2005) found that negative peer influences, and 5
comparisons between teammates often resulted in a lot of negative outcomes such as anger 6
and low sport motivation. Thus, positive peer support is required for effective TD 7
(Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde, & Whalen, 1996; Holt & Morley, 2004; Kay, 2000; Pummell et 8
al., 2008). 9
Talent Development Environmental Factors: Provisions 10
TD is multidimensional in nature and it requires training programs to consider a 11
variety of factors (Henriksen et al., 2010a; Martindale et al., 2007). Given that some of these 12
factors such as inherent abilities and luck are unchangeable or difficult to be changed, it is 13
important to focus on more controllable factors (e.g., training programs) instead. There seems 14
to be little doubt that a high-quality training program is a critical factor leading to expert 15
performance (Davids & Baker, 2007). A good coaching program should include strategic 16
planning, quality coaching and competition, equipment, financial support, and sport science 17
and medicine support, and these components should be combined in a systematic way 18
(Bullock et al., 2009; Johnson et al., 2008). Significant components for a high-quality 19
program exemplified in TD literature were synthesized and discussed below. 20
Long-term development 21
It is widely agreed that it takes many years, perhaps more than ten years, for athletes 22
to achieve elite performance (Bailey et al., 2011; Ericsson, 1996, 2007). Thus, the vision of 23
long-term athlete development should be systematically implemented. Accordingly, several 24
specific strategies have been proposed. Firstly, coaches should try to select as many potential 25
athletes at the early ages as possible for their TD programs. The observation made by Fisher 1
(1996) indicated that among the players who represented the England team at the FIFA 2
World Cups in 1986 and 1990, goalkeeper Peter Shilton was the only player who also 3
represented the national youth football team. Provisions should therefore bear long-term 4
developmental vision in mind, giving late bloomers more opportunities to be selected and 5
allowing athletes to make mistakes while emphasizing constant work on fundamental/basic 6
skills (Carlson, 2011; Martindale et al., 2005). Evidence derived from review and interview 7
studies (Bailey et al., 2011; Bloom, 1985; Côté, 1999) has suggested that fundamental skills 8
are one of the prerequisites for early involvement in sport as well as the building blocks for 9
later engagement in sport. Secondly, another proposed strategy is that long-term development 10
should be implemented by policy makers at institutional levels (Henriksen, Stambulova, & 11
Roessler, 2011; Martindale et al., 2007). For example, Martindale et al. (2007) interviewed 12
elite coaches and concluded that a reward system should be established to encourage long-13
term vision of TD rather than immediate or short-term success. Finally, under the long-term 14
path of development, coaches should reinforce athletes understanding about their 15
developmental paths (e.g., how junior level links to senior development) and encourage 16
athletes to take on more responsibilities for their own development. Some autonomy or 17
ownership both inside and outside of training sessions should be given to athletes to lengthen 18
their long-term commitment (Weissensteiner et al., 2009). 19
Quality preparation 20
There are many trainable factors contributing to sporting achievement (Ko et al., 21
2003). According to Ko et al.’s review, these include physiological variables, psychological 22
attributes, physical performance, and sport skills. More importantly, the various trainable 23
skills must be developed in an integrated manner. For example, physical skills can be trained 24
together with decision-making skills to enhance their transfer to a game situation (Martindale 25
et al., 2007). Most training programs, however, focus only on physical skills although 1
psychological variables have been identified as critical determinants of TD and for 2
maintenance of excellence (MacNamara, Button, & Collins, 2010). For example, elite 3
athletes and sub-elite athletes can be differentiated through psychological variables 4
(Weissensteiner et al., 2009). There was also qualitative evidence showing that psychological 5
factors were significant indicators of elite performance (e.g., Gould et al., 2002; MacNamara 6
et al., 2010). Hence, it is suggested that TD programs should place more emphasis on the 7
enhancement of psychological skills. There were several generic psychological skills or 8
characteristics (e.g., commitment, coping with pressure, goal setting, imagery, focus and 9
distraction control, and self-awareness) for effective TD across different sports as evidenced 10
in empirical studies (e.g., Abbott & Collins, 2004; Johnson, Tenenbaum, & Edmonds, 2006; 11
Weissensteiner, Abernethy, Farrow, & Gross, 2012). For example, given the requirement of 12
long-term investment in attaining expertise, commitment is required to facilitate athletes’ 13
continuing development (Bailey & Morley, 2006). In addition to developing the generic 14
psychological characteristics, psychological training programs should be tailored to 15
accommodate young athletes’ specific needs (MacNamra et al., 2010). 16
Recovery should be an integral component of a multidimensional training program 17
(Kellmann, 2002; Martindale & Mortimer, 2011). Martindale and Mortimer’s review 18
suggested that effective emotional/physical recovery needs to be emphasized in order to stay 19
injury-free and avoid other negative psychological consequences (e.g., stress and burnout). 20
Various strategies with regard to training load, nutrition, cooling down, stretching, social 21
support, and lifestyle education (e.g., time management and planning) can be included in a 22
multidimensional training program in order for the athletes to achieve the balance between 23
life and training (Kellmann, 2002; Martindale & Mortimer, 2011). 24
In addition to accounting the various trainable components, individual differences 1
should be also considered while drawing up a quality preparation program. Every athlete has 2
his/her individualized rate of development (Carlson, 2011; Norris & Smith, 2002). Empirical 3
evidence derived from interview studies (e.g., Johnson et al., 2006) showed that elite 4
performance was attained through a range of individualized practices. Similarly, Carlson 5
(2011) noted that elite athletes participating in individualized training programs (e.g., 6
providing plans or timely feedback for athletes’ personal physical and mental preparation) 7
showed better sport performance. Thus, practitioners should provide an individualized 8
training program which takes into account athletes’ respective experiences and requirements. 9
Individual differences can be manifested in interpersonal development and in the 10
stages of intrapersonal development. Gulbin et al.s (2010) interview study found that as 11
athletes progressed to compete at higher levels, coaches were required to equip themselves 12
with more sophisticated knowledge in the training aspect. In other words, with increasing 13
performance levels in an athlete, a training program is required to undertake a shift from 14
adopting mere pedagogical styles such as general teaching ability to having more technical 15
qualities such as detailed knowledge of a specific sport, refinement, and perfection (Durand-16
Bush & Salmela, 2002). Through a qualitative approach, Côté, Baker, and Abernethy (2007) 17
found that coaches needed to focus more on basic movement skills during early stages of 18
development. In the later developmental phases (e.g., investment years), the ability of 19
coaches to use domain-specific knowledge then became essential to maximize athletes’ 20
development (Côté et al., 2007). 21
Effective communication 22
Effective player-coach communication or interaction such as understanding of 23
athletes’ experiences and needs should be encouraged to develop an effective training 24
program based on the findings of interview studies (e.g., Carlson, 2011; Henriksen, 25
Stambulova, & Roessler, 2010b; Martindale et al., 2007). In other words, effective 1
communication is a medium for organizing an effective training program. Moreover, other 2
interview studies (e.g., Côté et al., 2007; Gould et al., 2002) also showed that building 3
effective communication patterns can help resolve conflicts or problems between different 4
groups of people such as coaches and support staff, or coaches and parents. 5
Taxonomic Classification and Implications 6
Building upon Gagnés (2011) working definition of TDE and the thorough review of 7
literature, the current study proposed a taxonomic classification of the TD environmental 8
factor (see Figure 1). Specifically, the aforementioned TD environmental factors were 9
categorized into three components: milieu, individuals, and provisions. Milieu encapsulated 10
sport culture, sporting policy, socioeconomic status, birthplace, and education and schooling. 11
Individuals encapsulated parents, coaches and support staff, and siblings and friends. 12
Provisions encapsulated long-term development, quality preparation, and effective 13
communication. The necessary elements or examples corresponding to each subcategory of 14
the TD environmental factors were also provided. 15
Besides the proposed taxonomic classification, there were several implications 16
pertaining to this review study. Firstly, the identified TD environmental factors in this study 17
should be considered for effective TD to take place. Practitioners can also use these findings 18
to reflect if the current practice in TD programs is consistent with the evidence from the 19
literature. However, it is worthy to note that all the environmental factors reviewed in the 20
current study were drawn from the western culture (e.g., Canada, Scandinavia, and UK). As 21
such, not all of the environmental factors may be applicable in oriental sporting contexts such 22
as China (Martindale et al., 2010). Secondly, little literature reviewed in this study used 23
longitudinal or experimental designs. Future studies may consider using these research 24
designs to provide stronger evidence on the impacts of environmental factors on TD. Thirdly, 25
although a number of studies have investigated the effects of environmental factors (e.g., 1
parents) on TD, limited studies have examined how these useful TD features can be 2
effectively implemented or how these environmental factors can be manipulated to enhance 3
TD (e.g., educating parents to alter their attitudes and behaviors towards supporting TD). 4
Finally, given the importance of the environmental factors for TD (Araújo & Davids, 2011; 5
Gould & Maynard, 2009; Henriksen, 2010), the development of a reliable and valid scale for 6
measuring the TD environmental factors is warranted to provide timely feedback for scholars 7
and field practitioners (e.g., coaches and administrators) to optimize the environment for 8
athletes’ development. While a scale titled the Talent Development Environment 9
Questionnaire has been recently developed (cf., Martindale et al., 2010), there were a few 10
limitations of the scale (e.g., conceptual overlaps among some of its factors). The proposed 11
taxonomic classification of the TD environmental factors allows researchers to refine or 12
further develop the scale. 13
Conclusion 14
Given the recent increased popularity of TD programs in international communities, 15
this comprehensive review and taxonomic classification provide a holistic picture coupled 16
with current knowledge on the TD environmental factors. The findings of this study highlight 17
the needs to consider practical issues and future research that are associated with effective TD. 18
It is desired that the current study provides a useful platform to address practical ideas for 19
practitioners and stimulate future studies for researchers in this exciting area. 20
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Elements (Examples)
Talent Development Environmental Factors
Sport culture
Sporting policy
Socioeconomic status
Education and schooling
Increase media coverage and participation rate in a sport
Establish and cohesively implement a right policy
Break financial barriers for athletes with low socioeconomic status
Provide a flexible and balancing training-education system
Increase the accessibility of sport programs and training facilities
Coaches and support staff
Siblings and friends
Offer tangible and emotional support and avoid giving too much
Build a good coach-athlete relationship
Provide sport science and medicine support
Share positive experiences from role models or seniors
• Avoid negative peer pressure
Long-term development
Quality preparation
Effective communication
Deemphasize early success and provide ongoing opportunities for
• Encourage athletes to take responsibilities for their own
• Give some extent of autonomy and ownership to athletes
Develop all the trainable fields including generic psychological
• Balance life and training
Develop a personalized training program
Promote effective communication between athletes and coaches, and
between other significant individuals
Figure 1. A taxonomic classification of the talent development environmental factors
... Two studies by Andersen and Ronglan (2012) and Bergsgard et al. (2007) 335 mainly analysed the similarities and differences among elite sport systems or organisations, while two other distinct studies by Houlihan and Green (2008) and Houlihan (2012) investigated the notion of policy learning and convergence on elite athlete development of nations. Five studies analysed various determinants of the development of elite sport systems concerning athlete development governance (Barker-340 Ruchti et al., 2018), benchmarking to improve management systems (Böhlke & Robinson, 2009), environmental factors on talent development (Li et al., 2014), and elite sport developmental processes (Newland & Kellett, 2012). Sotiriadou and colleagues' (2014) study analysed the sport policy interrelationships. ...
... While most studies derived determinants from distinctive theories or empirical studies, the studies by Houlihan (2012) and Li et al. (2014) were based on literature review of empirical studies and of theories, models and frameworks to describe determinants of various outcomes of development and success in elite sport. 395 ...
... Ten of the 19 studies explicitly referred to "context" as a contextual determinant category (Barker-Ruchti et al., 2018;Bergsgard et al., 2007;Böhlke & Robinson, 2009;Girginov & Sandanski, 2008;Henriksen et al., 2010a;Houlihan, 2012;Houlihan & Green, 2008;Thibault & Babiak, 2005), two of which referred to "contextual 400 component" (Jacobs, 2019;Patatas, 2019). The other nine studies used a broad range of terms to denote various contextual determinants, including terms such as "environment of the sport system" (Digel et al., 2006;Sotiriadou et al., 2014), "elite sport environment" (De Bosscher et al., 2008;De Bosscher et al., 2015;Truyens et al., 2014), "sport development setting" (Newland & Kellett, 2012), and "milieu" (Li et al., 2014). 405 ...
Full-text available
The importance of contexts in analysing elite sport systems and policies, as reflected in substantial research over the past couple of decades, is considered to nurture or constrain the development and outcome of elite sport systems toward international sporting success. Theorising elite sport systems as institutions operating and embedded in an open system may provide insight into the 'hows' 35 (throughput processes) and the 'whys' (conditions) of the effectiveness of sport systems and policies to determine what may work (or not work) for each country's specific context. This scoping review aims to examine and map determinants of elite sport development in nations. Specifically, the review analysed how studies: (1) theorised the determinants, (2) used terms to denote 40 contextual determinants for elite sport development and success and (3) described or conceptualised context. Further, the review identified context dimensions derived from the elite sport development determinants. The scoping review identified 19 studies that contain relevant contextual determinants. Findings present seven context dimensions derived from a neo-institutional organisation 45 framework that pertain to different institutional contexts that may influence the development of elite sport policy systems. An improved conceptualisation of context may enhance our understanding of the relationship between processes (i.e., sport policy mechanisms) and contexts.
... The model formed the theoretical foundation for the Talent Development Environment Questionnaire (TDEQ; Martindale et al., 2010), an instrument which offers researchers as well as sport practitioners the opportunity to obtain feedback on a variety of environmental features in various competitive sport environments (e.g., Gledhill & Harwood, 2019). Reviewing the research that followed this initial impetus, Li et al. (2014) advanced the original model by forwarding a taxonomic classification summarising environmental features of effective talent development encompassing the three main categories milieu (e.g., sport culture), individuals (e.g., coaches), and provisions (e.g., long-term development). At the same time, Li et al. (2015) also presented the TDEQ-5, a revision of the original scale. ...
... At this point, disagreements between the two reviewers were discussed with all authors of the research group. Subsequently, the first author manually screened the reference lists of the existing reviews Li et al., 2014;Martindale et al., 2005;Wang et al., 2019) The selection process is presented within Figure 1. Further details are available from the first author upon request. ...
... An initial impetus for such work has been provided byFeddersen and colleagues (2020) investigating the emergence of a destructive organisational culture within a British talent development pathway. Their work as well as the forwarded framework of functional and dysfunctional features of TDEs within this review may offer further guidance for future research within this area.ConclusionIn summary, there is an overwhelming body of research highlighting the significance of environmental features for talent development in sport (e.g.,Henriksen, 2010;Li et al., 2014;Martindale et al., 2005). With this scoping review a conceptual framework for this research is proposed that provides a holistic view on TDEs and talent development on an environmental and outcome level. ...
Based on the work of Martindale et al. (2005) and Henriksen et al. (2010a), researchers have increasingly focused on environmental features influencing talent development in sport from an integrated, holistic perspective. These contributions led to a quickly evolving body of literature and a proliferation of findings related to facilitative and debilitative environmental features. With a timely appraisal of this work warranted, this review aims to coalesce salient results from talent development environment research. For this purpose, a holistic perspective is employed on (a) the environmental level, by considering the sport and non-sport domain and by identifying functional and dysfunctional features, as well as on (b) the outcome level, by considering wellbeing and personal development, alongside athletic development, as important athlete-related outcomes. Following a systematic search, 44 articles were identified and findings summarised by conducting a directed content analysis (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005). Several functional and dysfunctional features were derived from the literature and grouped into the following main categories within a preliminary conceptual framework: Preconditions of the Sport Environment, Organisational Culture, Integration of Efforts, and Holistic Quality Preparation. The framework’s contribution to a more systemic and holistic approach to talent development is discussed and critical future research directions are proposed.
... The relevant influencing variables are personal and environmental factors that interact in a complex way (Baker & Horton, 2004;Phillips et al., 2010). In this multidimensional and dynamic understanding, however, separate factors in particular have been identified that stand for successful talent development including environmental factors (e.g., Li et al., 2014;Rees et al., 2016). Together with case analytic descriptions of Talent Development Environments (TDE), general recommendations on how to design TDEs for athletes have been made (Hauser et al., 2022;Henriksen & Stambulova, 2017;Martindale et al., 2005). ...
... Accordingly, we investigated the micro-environment of the ATDE model , namely, support from the club, school, family, and peers. The importance of these separate factors for successful talent development has been reported by other researchers (Gledhill et al., 2017;Li et al., 2014;Rees et al., 2016). Below, we will describe the current state of research about how these factors contribute to successful talent development. ...
Despite a growing interest in conducive talent development environments (TDE), the relationship between TDEs and the performance level in adulthood remains unclear. Therefore, this study examined the relationship of the micro-environment of former Swiss junior national team ice hockey players with their performance level in adulthood. With quantitative, retrospective data from n = 106 players born between 1984 and 1994, patterns of four factors club, family, peer, and school were built for early (13-15 years old) and late (16-19 years old) youth. The results revealed four structurally and mainly individually stable clusters for both developmental stages in youth. The cluster of the moderately above-average supported players between 16-19 years old demonstrated above-average values in all factors of the micro-environment and are more likely to reach international playing level in adulthood, whereas the structurally weak supported players are linked to a later regional playing level. These results indicate that simultaneous support across all four factors of the micro-environment in youth (club, family, peers, and school) is important to reach an international playing level, while low support in one or more area reduces the chance thereof. Thus, creating supportive environments across the board should be considered for a successful talent development.
... such frameworks distinguish . Li et al., 2014). Regarding personal characteristics, anthropometric (e.g., body size), physiological (e.g., conditional proficiencies), and psychological characteristics are differentiated from one another. ...
The sustainable success of associations and clubs in sport is based on effective talent promotion. Based on definitions for fundamental concepts (talent, expertise, talent), approaches to and framework models for talent and expertise research are presented in this chapter. In the main part, sport psychological characteristics such as cognitive performance factors (e.g., decision-making skills) and personality-related factors (e.g., achievement motivation) are considered regarding the selection and development of talents. This justifies a greater involvement of psychological test procedures and intervention approaches in promoting talent. However, due to the limited effect sizes in the prognosis of future performance, sport psychological characteristics should not be used (solely) for talent selection. The value of sport psychology diagnostics lies in the monitoring of relevant characteristics to be able to identify funding potential and to substantiate measures for talent development.KeywordsAbilityAchievement motivationAthlete developmentDecision-making competenceDeliberate playDeliberate practiceDevelopment pathwaysDevelopmental tasksEnvironmental factorsExecutive functionsExpertiseIntrapersonal catalystsPerceptual-cognitive skillsPersonality developmentPrognostic relevanceSelectionSensitivityTalentTalent promotion
... This assessment showed LTD as highly rated, perhaps an opportune area of the environment for TDEs leaders to get right. TDEs should also provide adequate multidisciplinary support to athletes, especially where resources are available (Li et al., 2014). Coaches should promote this support, and where necessary consider educating athletes to utilise it (Taylor & Collins, 2021), showing the importance of life skill development to help athletes make the most of their TDEs (Lara-Bercial & McKenna, 2022a, 2022b. ...
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Talent Development Environments (TDEs) aim to provide the appropriate conditions for youth athletes to realise their full sporting potential. How TDEs are designed and operated is therefore of great importance for the development of elite athletes. Stakeholders are vital in this process, yet their perspectives are poorly understood. This study assessed the quality of TDEs across 5 European countries, comparing athlete, parent and coach perceptions. A total of 571 athletes (Mean age = 15.2 ± 1.5 years), 759 parents and 134 coaches were recruited from TDEs across 27 sports. Participants completed the Talent Development Environment Questionnaire-5 or adapted versions. Overall, perceptions of European TDEs were positive. Coaches reported higher perceptions of TDE quality compared to athletes and parents, athletes reported marginally higher perceptions compared to parents. Across stakeholders, Long-Term Development was highest rated, followed by Communication. Support Network was lowest rated. Stakeholder perceptions varied most for the Holistic Quality Preparation subscale, highlighting perceived differences in TDE support for rounded athlete development. From an organisational perspective , identified strengths and weaknesses provide direction to coach and parent education. Practically, TDE leaders should consider how they can refine stakeholder coordination through integrating stake-holder perceptions as valuable feedback into their environment, especially for intangible factors. ARTICLE HISTORY
... Therefore, we suggest a necessity for organisations to monitor the prevalence of push and pull factors for their athletes on a longitudinal basis, utilising individual biological maturation along with other suggested push and pull factors that have been identified in the literature (e.g., familial influence [114], socio-economic status [115], and quality of previous coaching [116]). In contrast, we suggest that relative age data should be used differently, given that at the individual level it might not indicate individual challenge dynamics. ...
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In this conceptual paper, we contextualise ongoing attempts to manage challenge dynamics in talent systems in sport. Firstly, we review the broad literature base related to biological maturation, relative age, and the proposed interventions to mitigate effects. We suggest that the relative age effect may be a population level effect, indicative of deeper phenomena, rather than having a direct effect on challenge levels. In contrast, we suggest that biological maturation has a direct effect on challenge at the individual level. Therefore, our main critique of many existing approaches to the management of challenge is a lack of individual nuance and flexibility. We suggest the necessity for talent systems to adopt a more holistic approach, conceptualising biological maturation and relative age within a broader field of "push and pull factors" that impact challenge dynamics in talent development in sport. Finally, we provide practical guidance for talent systems in their approach to relative age and biological maturation, recognising that there is no "gold standard". Instead, there is a need to recognize the highly individual and contextual nature of these concepts, focusing on strategic coherence through talent systems for the management of selection and development processes.
... The current study provided us with an initial insight, demonstrating that through a multi-dimensional training programme, high volume/frequency of training, highquality coaches and sport support staff student-athletes developed their all-round performance development and sports education and subsequent sporting confidence. This aligns to the views that many trainable factors contribute to sporting success (e.g., [57,58]), that coaches play an essential role in talent development [59][60][61] and that high-quality sports programmes should incorporate a group of support staff (e.g., S&C coaches, sports psychologists, nutritionists, physiotherapists [62]). As such, it seems plausible that sports-friendly school programmes should be multi-dimensional in nature and employ expert coaches and support sport staff to provide high-quality training programmes and sessions. ...
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In order to understand the features of sport schools and their impacts on the holistic development of student-athletes, it is important to take into account the voice of multiple stakeholders central to the programmes (student-athletes, coaches, teachers). Through a case-study approach, using five focus groups, with 19 student-athletes, and six semi-structured interviews with three coaches and three dual coach and teachers, this study explored the perceived impacts of one sport-friendly school (pseudonym-"Salkeld High") on holistic athlete development and the features that drove these impacts. Using a critical realist approach to thematic analysis, findings indicated a multitude of immediate, intermediate and long-term positive and negative impacts associated with academic/vocational (e.g., academic security vs. second/third choice university), athletic/physical (e.g., performance development vs. injuries), psychosocial (e.g., social skills vs. social scarifies) and psychological (e.g., sport confidence vs. performance pressure) development of "Salkeld High" student-athletes. Overall, "Salkeld High" was viewed as an integrated school environment for sport, academics, and boarding, where academic (e.g., extra-tutoring), athletic (e.g., high volume/frequency of training), and psychosocial/psychological (e.g., pastoral services) features are all in one location. The student-athletes tended to get a well-rounded, balanced holistic experience. However, the intensified and challenging nature of involvement did present some negative impacts that stakeholders should be aware of when designing, implementing, and evaluating sport-friendly school programmes. Furthermore, although "Salkeld High" was seen as an integrated environment within the school, it could do better at collaborating with wider sporting structures.
... There will be a range of significant individuals within the lives of a young person that can influence their development. One of crucial elements forming the environmental catalysts is the Talent Development Environment (TDE) which refers to the organised system influencing the progression of players (Li et al., 2014;Martindale et al., 2005). Researchers have described the structure, functions, and components of the close (micro) and the wider (macro) environment influencing the development of players (Bronfenbrenner, 1999;Dorsch et al., 2020). ...
... There will be a range of significant individuals within the lives of a young person that can influence their development. One of crucial elements forming the environmental catalysts is the Talent Development Environment (TDE) which refers to the organised system influencing the progression of players (Li et al., 2014;Martindale et al., 2005). Researchers have described the structure, functions, and components of the close (micro) and the wider (macro) environment influencing the development of players (Bronfenbrenner, 1999;Dorsch et al., 2020). ...
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Literature in Talent Development (TD) for female sports is sparse and assumes applicability from existing male TD research. The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the TD pathway in Scottish female football. Five expert coaches and five international players were interviewed regarding their experiences within Scottish female football. Key findings demonstrated the main influences within the TD pathway. Mixed football was evident in the early stages while big gulfs were reported throughout the development process. Lack of capacity and resources to provide coherent support in a systematic way was the key constraint within the Scottish TD pathway. Practical implications include the education of club coaches and integration of sport psychologists in the development pathway.
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Collegiate athletes are valuable assets of the University. Their athletic performance requires a high level of competitiveness to achieve commendable record standing; thus, nutrition plays an important role. Their dietary habits and how knowledgeable they are about proper nutrition are the primary concern of this study that will probably affect their performance. The purpose of the study is to determine if there is a relationship between Dietary Habits and Nutritional Knowledge. Also, to investigate if these two variables serve as a predictor of Athletic Performance among selected UST collegiate athletes. The descriptive- Correlational design was used in the study. Respondents were identified using the purposive sampling technique and stratified random sampling. 100 Team A selected collegiate athletes from the University of Santo Tomas who participated in the UAAP Season '80 were surveyed and completed a Dietary Habits and Nutritional Knowledge Questionnaire developed by Paugh (2005). Data were analyzed using Regression and Pearson Correlation Coefficient at an alpha level of .05. The results revealed that respondents practiced good dietary habits and had a good knowledge of nutrition with a General Weighted Mean of 2.70 and 3.02, respectively. There is a significant relationship between dietary habits and nutritional knowledge. Dietary habit predicts athletic performance while nutritional knowledge does not predict athletic performance.The researchers highly recommend the full support/assistance of Coaches/Athletic Trainers/ Sports Conditioning Coach, and Parents in guiding the nutritional diet of student-athlete and the availability of Sport Dietician to implement a dietary plan for student-athletes to reach their optimal athletic performance. Keywords: Dietary Habits, Nutritional Knowledge, Athletic Performance, Collegiate Athletes, Nutrition
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This paper chronicles the key developmental experiences and insights of 673 high performance Australian athletes (including 51 Olympians), across 34 sports. A customised survey was developed around Gagné's (2009) holistic model of talent development which enabled athletes to report in a contextually relevant way. Key thematic variables demonstrated that high performance athletes are characterised by diverse and high level sports participation prior to specialisation, a vast investment and commitment to practice, access to high quality coaching, substantial parental support, an early and enduring passion for sport, and resilience to overcome and bounce back from any obstacles. These factors are contrasted at each of the junior and senior competition development milestones, with theoretical and practical implications specific to athlete and national talent identification system development discussed. © 2010 international research association for talent development and excellence.
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The equity issue with regard to the underrepresentation of socioeconomically and ethnically disadvantaged students in gifted education has its source in judgments of unfair identification practices. After describing that issue and its factual basis, I show: (a) that an often overlooked statistical phenomenon exacerbates the disproportions; (b) that similar and even much larger disproportions exist in and outside general education without any advocacy group bringing out accusations of unfair access rules; and (c) that the source of our field's equity issue resides in the fact that most current gifted programs have little to do with " real" academic talent development, inspired by a meritocratic ideology. Using basic definitions from my Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent (DMGT), as well as a detailed definition of the talent development process, I argue that if most gifted programs were reoriented to follow the DMGT's Academic Talent Development (ATD) model, the equity issue would lose its relevance.
The article is a case-study approach examining social exclusion in high-performance youth sport to see whether all talented young sports people in England have an equal opportunity to reach the Olympic Podium. The scheme studied was “Performance Resources” (PR), an initiative across Nottinghamshire, a local authority with a long history of active support for sport. Over 70 telephone interviews and a social need analysis of all past participants (N = 319) highlighted that PR as a route to improving children's sport performances was judged a resounding success. However, using social need as a surrogate for socioeconomic status, the article concludes that the majority of participants were from middle class and relatively affluent households, and there were disproportionately few from lower classes and deprived groups and areas. More direct “social marketing” with such children and their parents is needed to break the barriers.
One consistently reported influence on athlete development is relative age (i.e., one's age compared to others in a cohort). Relative age effects are grounded in the notion that sport selection systems choose athletes based on maturational characteristics and that once chosen, these athletes are placed in superior developmental environments. The purpose of this study was to confirm a relative age effect in a sample of 211 representative male ice-hockey players and determine whether participants in the different age quartiles were distinguishable by two factors thought to be responsible for perpetuating relative age effects in sport: their level of physical maturation (reflected by height and weight values) and/or in-game exposure (as reflected by actual playing time measured at a representative sample of games). Results indicated that a significantly greater proportion of players were selected from early in the year but, there was little variability among participants for the other dependent variables. These results suggest that elite youth sport coaches may select athletes who do not differ in body type and that once selected for the elite representative team athletes have comparable experiences.
Applied Physiology and Kinesiology at the University of Florida, Gainesville The purpose of this study was to utilize multiple perspectives to describe the major influences and experiences during the development of highly talented collegiate athletes. Eight NCAA Division I collegiate athletes, 12 parents, and 6 coaches participated in this study. In-depth semi-structured interviews analyzed through grounded theory analytic procedures (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) were used. Overall, it was ascertained that a favorable interaction between perceived genetic dispositions, practice, situational factors, and mental characteristics facilitated and nurtured the participants' talent development. The importance of social support for overcoming adversity was a salient theme and should be addressed by sport psychology consultants and coaches.
The purposes of this study were to (a) identify psychosocial factors associated with athletic success by talented English school children and (b) examine potential gender differences in their perceptions of athletic success. Thirty-nine athletically talented English children (20 females, 19 males, M age = 13 years, SD = 1.4 years) participated in structured interviews, which were transcribed verbatim and subjected to an inductive-deductive analysis procedure. Results revealed nine categories (comprising 28 themes) of psychosocial factors associated with athletic success during childhood: Ambitions, Choice of Sport, Motives, Success Attributions, Sacrifices, Obstacles, Emotional Support, Informational Support, and Tangible Support. Gender differences are considered and findings are compared to previous talent development and youth sport research.