Factors contributing to a long term talent development focus for university athletes
Van den Berg, Liandi
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Talent development in sport is a complex process involving the interaction of multidisciplinary aspects that directly and/or indirectly affect athletic progression and performance. The purpose of this study was to identify factors that contribute to a long term talent development focus so that the success of university athletes in South Africa is increased. Athletes over the age of eighteen years, who qualified to compete under the auspices of University Sport South Africa, were requested to complete the Talent Development Environment Questionnaire for Sport (TDEQ). Included in the questionnaire were twenty four items specifically measuring the extent to which athletes are exposed to development opportunities designed to form foundations for long term success rather than preparation for short-term results-driven outcomes. The results of the study revealed that five factors influenced the advancement of a long-term talent development focus which included the following: training support, coach guidance, skills development focus, work ethic and training goals. These factors are highly predisposed by the coach. Subsequently an implicit need for a theoretical model of effective sport coaching practice would be highly beneficial in providing coaches with the necessary knowledge required to provide a conducive developmental environment for athletes.