Talent Identification and Talent Development

As a parent of athlete, you have a lot of thoughts and questions running through your mind. First, your biggest concern is (or should be) your child's health and personal contentment playing whatever sport they choose. After that, lots of technical questions come about concerning their development and potential as an athlete. I'll address two big questions that you may be thinking about below:

How do I know if my son or daughter will be a great sprinter?

One major myth that a lot of people believe is that genetics decide if our children will be successful in sports or not. This can be partially true in that some kids will have a natural advantage over their peers physically because of genetics, but overall, this isn't true, this is a major myth! Sprinters are not born; they are made. It is impossible to tell what the athletic ability of a young child is until they have years of proper training (many industry experts believe seven years of training is required to tell athletic potential).

This time is also a crucial time for proper development. An athlete can be 'unmade' during this stage if an athlete is not given the proper training loads to develop specific muscle fibre needed for their event. With inappropriate training for a speed and explosive athlete, the athlete can develop more type 1 muscle fibers than type 2, which is detrimental to their performance because type 2 muscle fibers are key to developing explosive energy and explosive speed.

At what stage of athletic development should an athlete move to higher-level training? 

This is something that a well-qualified coach will know right away. If we can see that an athlete can properly transfer his or her energy down the track efficiently, they should start considering moving into a more advanced sprint development program. Another major clue is when an athlete can use starting blocks efficiently. What I mean by that is when an athlete can push correctly out of the blocks and have a 39-45 degree exiting angle, they should be ready to move to a more advanced sprint development program. Block usage is a challenging aspect to master. Improper block usage can lead to a hindrance of performance, and the development of incorrect form and bad habits down the line.

For personal one-on-one training, one of our speed camps, or online training please reach out to me on CoachUp.

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