It could be argued that competition itself might very well be the best form of talent identification, with competition seeing the best or most talented athletes rise to the top in their chosen sport. However the many athletes that do not succeed in the particular sport they have chosen, along with many that do achieve a degree of success, may be better suited to a different sport and never realise it. With this in mind and considering that without talent development, talent identification would be a waste of time and resources, it is easy to see why talent identification is a term that is often confused with the term talent development.
Therefore it is vital, that talent identification is clearly defined before discussing the topic further. Talent identification is defined as “that process by which children are encouraged to participate in the sports at which they are most likely to succeed, based on results of testing selected parameters. These parameters are designed to predict performance capacity, taking into account the child’s current level of fitness and maturity. “
By linking talent identification to the already existing Provincial and National Level sustainable results can still be achieved in talent identification.
At the same time talent identification programs need to be scientifically based and assessment should be continuous rather than being done once only in order to maximise an individual’s sports return from its sporting resources.
At the same token, talent identification must not be solely used for the purpose of identifying athletes. Coaches, technical officials and administrators will form part of this process.
The main focus groups can be summarised as follows:
– Identified provincial athletes
– Identified national athletes
– Coaches, administrators & technical officials
– Special focus on athletes with disabilities, athletes from HDI areas and young participants
The SATTB therefore uses the development continuum as the backbone of identification, from grassroots level to elite level. This triangle accurately summarises the process involved with talent ID.