Children’s talent development in sport: effectiveness or efficiency?: Jean Côté, Colleen Coakley and Mark Bruner
This chapter will present and discuss evidence that suggests it is important to reverse current trends in youth sport and talent development. The concepts of effective versus efficient youth sport programs will first be introduced to highlight the different foci that youth sport programs can take for the development of talent. Evidence for the value of efficient youth sport programs, that is, for those that focus on inclusion rather than exclusion of children, will be presented under the following three headings: 1) evidence against early specialization and athletes’ selection, 2) the importance of playfulness and spontaneity, and 3) support for developmentally appropriate rules and outcomes. Building on these concepts the chapter will conclude by proposing four guidelines for youth sport aimed at improving the experiences of youth sport participants. The age group upon which this chapter is focused is youth sport participants aged 6 through 12.