The development of clear systems and structures within governing bodies for the identification, confirmation and development of talent is critical to the success of performance sport in Northern Ireland.
The implementation of effective strategies to reduce the accidental nature of how talent is discovered, confirmed and developed is essential in the creation of a sustainable pathway which increases the flow of talent through to world Class performance level. This is an important area in terms of the development of four-year plans from 2009 to 2013.
One of the Strategic goals will be the appointment of governing body talent personnel to achieve the goals of the Sport Northern Ireland Corporate Plan.
Talent Identification, Confirmation and Development – Finding Northern Ireland’s Future Elite Team Players and Performers
Lifting a major title or stepping on to a medal rostrum at the Commonwealth, Olympic or Paralympic Games is a dream come true for many athletes. Winning a major title or Commonwealth, Olympic or Paralympic Gold medal means that you have taken on and beaten the best opposition your Country, Commonwealth, Europe or the World has to offer. The ability required to achieve such a daunting task is a rare commodity and identifying those that have what it takes is no easy task. Sport Northern Ireland is therefore implementing a comprehensive Talent Programme to achieve elite performances throughout our sporting infrastructure.
In partnership with the Sports Institute Northern Ireland (SINI) and targeted National Governing Bodies, Sport Northern Ireland is committed to systematically unearthing precocious athletic talent, leading to possible participation in specialist development programmes towards future elite performance.
Talent Identification and Development is both an art and science involving a complex blend of scientific knowledge and assessment, alongside coaching art. It is designed to proactively seek out those that possess the raw material for high level success, and respond positively to an intense training and competition environment.
On average it takes six to eight years for a promising sportsman or woman to get to the point where they can deliver medals on the senior stage. It’s a long hard journey. Only those who are tactically aware, physically and mentally strong, coachable, and able to make significant sacrifices will survive.
The scientific approach of identifying talent involves a series of rigorous assessments and filters to detect individuals that have ‘higher probability’ for podium success. There are no guarantees – only opportunities and choices. The role of the coach is also instrumental throughout the filtering process, most importantly during the talent confirmation phase which seeks to 'test drive' the athlete in a more sports-specific training environment.
The system has to be smart enough to select individuals based on their future abilities and the standards required to deliver the necessary goals. Not just current performance abilities being produced here and now.