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Stacy Danley: Tips for Better Talent Identification

Talent identification has become a significant part of many industries. In sports, however, it is becoming more important than ever. Teams everywhere want to recruit the best athletes to help them succeed. According to Stacy Danley, this process begins from a young age.

Sports talent identification processes start very early to ensure the individual has more than 10 years of deliberate practice or at least 10,000 hours. Experts widely recognize this as a necessity for becoming an elite athlete. The entire process also has to be completed within a conducive environment.

So, what exactly should teams be looking for?

If you are a team owner looking to recruit a potential basketball player, height would be most likely an essential or desirable physical quality since this physical performance determinant is often associated with excellence within basketball.

However, according to Stacy Danley, this process has negative implications. Physicality is not the only determinant of performance, with players and athletes all maturing at different ages and rates. With that in mind, the characteristics easily seen during this period may be due to a transitional period.

A fundamental mistake is disregarding the talent development environment factor that may impact the athlete. Physical maturity early on does not always lead to superior performance at the later stages of an athlete’s development. While it certainly helps, it is not a significant determinant.
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These processes often overlook other factors, such as technical and psychological aspects. It may already be apparent at the onset, and the development and monitoring of potential should also be observed closely.

However, Stacy Danley notes that this should highlight another potential reason for other talented young athletes being unnoticed in talent identification. As such, remember that decisions can be made on just one performance when it clearly should not be the case.

Additionally, talent identification can happen when an athlete is not participating in sports but is identified as showing their potential in a sporting event. For instance, if an athlete is participating or even training in track and field, cross country, or on the road and exhibits talent in that event, this can lead to further development of their talent. The training program must be coordinated in their schools, and test results should be sent to provincial bodies.

Stacy Danley also notes that while talent identification is more suited to events that have physical and physiological characteristics as advantages, in competitions where success is determined by strategy and skill, the ability to predict performance becomes more difficult. Base-level screening tests exist. These tests can be administrated by teachers and examined by athletic coaches and the provincial coaching committee. Then, after talent identification, sport-specific tests can and should be used to refine the selection process.

It can only be a success if there is a well-structured and resourceful talent development program. However, talent identification tests and programs take a long time to refine, sometimes even years.

Stacy Danley is the President and CEO of SLD Sports Management Group. The company specializes in providing quality event management, corporate consulting, strategic planning, fundraising, new business development, sales, and corporate marketing. For related readings, subscribe to his page.

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