Innate talent in sport: from theoretical concept to complex reality – comment on Baker & Wattie

Nikki Rommers, Roland Rössler


Over the last 20 years, the concept of innate talent has been discussed in the literature, and different factors have been associated with talent in different sports. However, it should be noted that talent identification is sport-, or even position-specific, and no ‘one size fits all’ consensus can be established. Specific talent profiles should be developed, acknowledging the multidimensionality of talent by taking physical, physiological, cognitive, psychological, and motivational factors into account. These profiles should also be age-specific and adjusted for covariates such as maturational timing and training history. To make a step forward in talent identification, we should not only move ahead in identifying innate talent, but also acknowledge the multifaceted and dynamic nature of talent. Therefore, we recommend researchers and practitioners to start approaching talent as a multidimensional, complex system.


Talent identification – youth sport – complexity

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