Research and practice in talent identification and development—Some thoughts on the state of play

Dave Collins*, Áine MacNamara, Andrew Cruickshank

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although there has been considerable growth in talent identification and development research in sport over the last 20 years, in this commentary we argue that the mixed quality (e.g., the uncritical employment of retrospective and autobiographical data) and lack of applied focus of much of this research, together with organizational inertia, means that relatively little has changed in the applied landscape at the systems level. In an effort to clarify and redirect work in this important area, we propose the Performance-Outcome-Process continuum, a structure that examines ideas based on what and how they contribute to the talent development process and the multiple approaches that exist. Reflecting a pracademic focus, and the need to generate effective and applicable answers, we also highlight the importance of understanding the processes and underlying mechanisms of development-focused constructs to best support the integration of these ideas into applied talent development procedures. To close the research–practice divide, we conclude by suggesting a pragmatic approach that prioritizes both the quality of research and the importance of applied impact, at least in research that claims to be for sport.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-351
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Sport Psychology
Issue number3
Early online date14 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Research and practice in talent identification and development—Some thoughts on the state of play'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this