Sport Coaching: Talent Identification & Development

Unit code: SSC3002 | Study level: Undergraduate
(One credit point is usually equivalent to one hour of study per week)
Footscray Park


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 60 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.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Rationalise and debate an understanding of giftedness and talent in a range of contexts;
  2. Review and authenticate current and preceding talent identification models from a multi-disciplinary perspective;
  3. Advocate ethical implications, potential concerns and challenges relating to talent identification in sport and working with youth athletes;
  4. Conceptualise and advise typical stages of the long-term athlete development model, as well as current best practice in talent identification in sport; and
  5. Collaborate with others to examine theoretical talent identification in sport models and implications in “real world settings.”


For Melbourne campuses

Assessment type: Report
Grade: 30%
Laboratory reports (3 x 10%)
Assessment type: Case Study
Grade: 20%
TID field sessions x 2
Assessment type: Other
Grade: 20%
Class Debate (90 mins per group)
Assessment type: Presentation
Grade: 30%
Presentation (10 mins) & report

Required reading

Selected readings will be made available via the unit VU Collaborate site.

As part of a course

This unit is not a compulsorily taken as part of any specific course. Depending on the course you study, this unit may be taken as an elective.

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