The search for sport talent is almost as old as competitive sport. The modern advent of talent identification in sport (TID) dates back to the programs developed in the former Soviet and Eastern bloc countries in the 1960s and 1970s and was responsible for many Olympic successes. Now, some 40 years on, few areas in sport are as contentious as the ongoing debate of TID. While some experts argue that TID potentially provides talented players with opportunities possible to develop their potential, other experts argue that TID science lacks credibility and practice, is often flawed scientifically and/or ethically. It has also been said that, 'The best form of TID is mass participation.' 

This unit introduces students to TID and how it has historically been used, and at times misused. Students learn about TID theory and practices but also importantly underlying philosophical questions relevant to TID. There is also a focus on reconciling the dual objectives of mass participation and talent developed.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate understanding of giftedness and talent in a range of contexts;  
  2. Distinguish between what is talent identification (and what isn't talent identification) from a multi-disciplinary perspective;  
  3. Demonstrate understanding of the ethical implications and potential concerns, challenges and dilemmas relating to TID;  
  4. Demonstrate understanding of the typical stages of long term athlete development (LTAD), as well as current best practice in TID;  
  5. Work effectively with parents of talented children  


Assessment type Description Grade
Report Laboratory reports 30%
Presentation Group presentation 20%
Other Class Debate (Presentation) 20%
Examination Theory Exam 30%
Non assessed Class Debates map to LO 5 & 6 and GC 1c,1d,2a,2b.

Where to next?

As part of a course

You can choose to study this unit as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to structure your course to include this unit.

Study a single unit

This unit may be available as a single unit of study.

Find out more about how to apply for single units of study at VU.

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this unit information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that unit information is current with the Student Contact Centre.