top of page
  • Norman Brook

Aptitude to Self Actualisation (Sporting Talent 1)

Norman Brook recently presented a paper on the practice of identifying, confirming and developing sporting talent at a seminar in Fortaleza, Brazil, organised through the International Inspiration programme and hosted by the state government of Ceara.  Extracts from the paper will be featured in our blog over the next few weeks.


There are many young people in our communities that have an aptitude (gift or abilities) towards sport.  Testing or the “eye” of a coach or talent scout will often identify these young people, who have the potential to perform at a higher level than their age peers.   Whilst most with aptitude will possess good levels of sports skill and performance, in reality only a few, perhaps 5% will demonstrate that they have real talent.

According to Gagne’s (2002) giftedness (aptitude) is the potential to perform at a level significantly beyond what might be expected from one’s age-peers in any area of human ability. Talent is an achievement at a level significantly beyond what might be expected from age-peers in fields such as arts, technology, academic pursuits, athletics, sports and social action.

So whilst we can observe young people with an aptitude for a sport it is only when they have demonstrated achievement that we can confirm that they have talent.  This has led to greater importance in sport the being placed on the process that seeks to confirm talent rather than the initial process of identifying talent.

Once talent has been confirmed the real challenge is how it can be supported and nurtured so that it is given every chance of achieving international sporting success.

Success in terms of any national initiative aimed at identifying and developing talent has to be medal winning performances on the World stage.  These are the achievements that nations celebrate and want to invest in.

Ultimately we want all athletes with talent to realise their maximum potential and possibilities. The motivation to achieve potential and possibilities being described by Maslow (1943) as self-actualisation.  Those athletes with the talent and the right motivation will rise beyond levels of normal sporting achievement to achieve greatness and genius.

Figure 1: Aptitude to Self Actualisation

There a number of terms commonly used terms associated with the process of identifying, confirming and developing talent.

Talent Identification is the term used for the process of identifying individuals with an aptitude for a sport who are not currently participating in the sport

Talent Selection describes the process of selecting gifted individuals who are already taking part in the sport often through results or by talent scouts observing the athlete performing in trainin g or competition;

Talent Confirmation is the process through which an individual is confirmed as having the talent required to achieve excellence and will probably include evidence of performing in a competitive arena;

Talent Development is the process of providing an individual with the coaching and support required to enable them to realise their potential.

Talent Blending is the bringing together of a group of talented individuals and moulding them into a high performing team.

Talent Transfer is the process of identifying talent from one sport to another.

The development of a programme of ongoing talent identification, confirmation, and development that guarantees a flow over time of talent into the sport would be an organisation’s Talent System.

3 views0 comments


bottom of page