Shoulda, coulda, didnae-Why don't high-potential players make it?

Jamie Taylor*, Dave Collins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Given the nonlinear nature of talent development, there is a lack of research investigating those who do not "make it." Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to explore the reasons that performers of high potential did not meet their expected performance level. Participants, who were experienced talent developers in high-level academies from football and rugby, identified 5 broad reasons for these failures: lack of mental skills, serendipity, pathway-based failures, maladaptive family input, and lack of physical skills. Using a 3-part focus derived from the data, the authors suggest ways that talent pathways can optimize their output and prevent these failures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-96
Number of pages12
JournalSport Psychologist
Issue number2
Early online date20 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2019


  • elite performance
  • pathway
  • talent development


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