How Do Scouts Identify Talented Athletes?



The identification of talented athletes can be challenging. It is often the responsibility of scouts or coaches, who need to make selection decisions: Which athletes have the greatest potential to reach the professional level (Bergkamp et al., 2021)? The aim of the current study was to examine how scouts make such decisions in a soccer context. Through an online self-report questionnaire, 125 Dutch scouts were asked about (a) the age at which they could predict players’ future soccer performance, (b) the attributes they considered most relevant, and (c) the extent to which they predicted performance in a structured manner. The most important results were, first, that scouts of young players (under 12) did not believe they could reliably predict future performance. This suggests that these scouts acknowledge that early indicators of later performance are often lacking (Abbott et al., 2005; Den Hartigh et al., 2016). Second, scouts mostly took general technical attributes into account when selecting players. Third, scouts reported that they assessed attributes of players in a structured manner. Nonetheless, they ultimately made their final assessments of players by intuitively integrating scores on different performance attributes. These outcomes provide indications to improve the reliability and validity of the talent identification process. More specifically, talent identification in sports may advance by incorporating methodological principles from selection psychology. This field is concerned with how to best select candidates for different achievement domains, yet has seldom been considered in the sports domain (Bergkamp et al., 2019; Den Hartigh et al., 2018).
Originele taal-2English
StatusPublished - jul.-2022
EvenementFEPSAC 2022: Sport, exercise and performance psychology: challenges and opportunities in a changing world - University of Padua, Padua, Italy
Duur: 11-jul.-202215-jul.-2022


ConferenceFEPSAC 2022
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