chapter  21
Talent development in youth football
WithJürgen Beckmann, Denise Beckmann-Waldenmayer
Pages 14

Competitive football like many other sports faces the problem that limited resources and a limited number of players on the pitch require selection of players with the highest potential. However, talent is a rather fuzzy concept with no commonly agreed upon definition. Those involved in talent selection should be aware of players’ perspectives and pay less attention to the current level of performance. Research shows that current capacity is not a prerequisite for future success; rather psychological factors may be the best predictors of a future career. These factors are basically motivational and volitional. Coachability appears to be another important aspect. In general, a dynamic developmental concept including a growth orientation is needed. From a dynamic perspective, player development should be considered as a concept whose components change over time involving the interplay between multidimensional determinants. The motivational component for instance must not be underestimated because sometimes those who appear to be the most promising drop out. Particularly, the sampling years, until the age of about 14, should mainly consist of motivating deliberate play. But talent development should not merely develop the technical and tactical skills needed on the pitch. Talent development should become ‘life coaching’ that develops the whole person taking into account the different systems relevant for them in a multidimensional and multifaceted way.