Critical Analysis of Talent Identification Programmes

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Utilising a range of relevant academic literature critically analyse either a past or present talent identification programme concluding with possible recommendations. This assignment will aim to look in depth at the talent identification programme Talent Search. There will then be further critical discussion and analysis of the programme and its positives and negatives. To conclude there will be a discussion on the further recommendations that could improve the programme. The terminology used in the field of talent identification can be confusing, mainly due to the different terms adopted in different countries and their systems (Williams and Reilly 2000, Gulbin 2002). It is therefore important to define what is meant by some of the terms that will be used. For this assignment talent identification is a general term that describes the scientific processes used to identify talent. The talent identification programme that will be discussed is the Australian Talent Search. Talent search was a programme developed by the Australian Institute of Sport in 1994 following the announcement that Sydney would host the 2000 Olympic Games. Before discussing the programme itself it is important to outline a brief history of sport in Australia and outline the reasons for introducing the programme. Generally speaking, historically, Australia had little or inconsistent success in sport. There was limited funding from the Australian government in the 1950s. Australian governments applied a minimalist policy, essentially leaving sport alone and it was not until poor performances in the Olympics that the creation the Australian Institute of Sport in 1980 occurred. There was a significant structural transformation of sport in Australia from 1980 onwards. Suddenly it became important for Australia to compete with reasonable hopes of success across a much wider range of sports than ever before. (Cooke 2007). The ideology that sporting success equalled nation success was strongly engrained in the Australian people at the time and the quest for gold medals and world championship titles became closely allied to national pride and wellbeing (Cooke 2007). The metamorphosis was due to a drastic change in government policy. There was a large shift in attitude which meant that federal and state governments would fund, guard, promote, reform, supervise and regulate sport. Just one month after the IOC awarded Sydney the 2000 Games, senior sports officials unveiled a $420 million strategy to win 20 gold medals in 2000. Williams and Reilly (2000) argue that sport became as important to the government as education, health and foreign relations. It has been argued that his transformation has been largely as a result of programmes like Talent Search (Digel 2006).

1994 Australia awarded 2000 Olympic Games talent search expanded to include: swimming, cycling, athletics, canoe/kayak, water polo, weightlifting and triathlon 2006 expanded to include: boxing, tae-kwan-do, beach volleyball, shooting, diving, badminton, judo, short track speedskating, and skeleton bob (Aus$20 million budget

The programme unified various sporting organisation and institutions under one roof. Digel 2006

With a population tiny in comparison with many other nations, it became imperative that no-one was missed in the relentless search for talent. New, more scientific methods of identification were brought into play. Cooke 2007

As the General Manager, National Talent Identification and Development at the Australian Sports Commission, Jason Gulbin, says: ‘We can’t just rely on the gut feelings of coaches and scouts because with a small population and we need to maximise the probability of getting a result. Instead of 10 people vying for selection in any particular event for our well populated competitors, we may have only three – so those three had better be good Cooke 2007

Most funding goes towards elite sport. Stewart 2004
In 1980 they established an institute of...
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