In my years of involvement with Rugby League I’ve always taken a keen interest in ‘talent spotting’ for want of a better phrase. Last year the State Junior Rugby Championship where held here in Toowoomba and at one of the games a mate asked me “what do you look for when you’re looking for talent“. Its a good question.
Wayne Goldsmith (pictured) is an Australian who is one of the world’s leading high performance sport expert. Wayne works with high performance teams all over the world and here is Australia with NRL clubs, AFL, Super Rugby, A-League and with Tennis Australia’s high performance program.
Wayne writes his own blog ‘Sports Coaching Brain’ and last year wrote an interesting article The Player Potential Profile. Here are some of the relevant points from that post.
Regular readers will know I have been critical of Talent Identification: or more accurately the way that talent i.d. is currently conducted in the western world. The fundamental thinking behind this criticism is the obsession of talent i.d.-ers with physical testing and physical abilities of potential champions.
The “big six” indicators of a player’s performance potential – the Performance Potential factors are:
1. Physical abilities;
2. Personality characteristics;
3. Playing skills;
4. Performance abilities;
5. Pedigree (i.e. genetic makeup);
6. Preparation ((i.e. environment, family, culture).
Wayne then goes on to make some comments about each of the 6 indicators
Performance Potential Factor Number 1 – Physical abilities:
Finding real physical talent in players of any sport is not difficult – real talent is harder to hide than it is to find!
So true. Blind Freddy can can spot a physically talented athlete. What is harder to spot is point number 2.
Performance Potential Factor Number 2 -Personality characteristics:
Ask an experienced coach this question, “What does it take to win at high performance levels?” and invariably you will get a response like this: “You need physical talent driven by determination, desire, passion, commitment, a strong work ethic and courage“.
A long time ago I saw this mathematical formula.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.
11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%
8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%
1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%
Not a lot of science in that formula – but it seems to work pretty well when ‘talent spotting’.