Talent identification and nurturing isn’t as straight-forward as you might think. An athletically talented kid at 13 years old, will not necessarily go on to achieve great sporting feats or achieve god like status.

For a year Rasmus Ankersen (www.rasmusankersen.com) travelled around the world to crack the secrets of the world’s best performance hotbeds. In this video, he explains how you can improve your ability to spot something called undervalued talent.

Something to think about while you watch:

  1. Is it best to have a child focus on one sport and one sport only from an early age to promote or improve their athletic talent/ability? (Hint the answers here)
  2. Does the environment we create as a parent or coach value the talented kids and not help nurture the undervalued talent as well?

Why does it matter?

Well, there are many mental and physical benefits to kids playing sports, there are also flow on effects for the family and community, so maximising the time they stay in sport should already be a no brainer. But what about winning? Well, the same approach (see the Good Sports Spine below) will also improve New Zealand’s chances on the world stage.

If taking the fun out of kid’s sport leads to kids stopping playing sport, then our sports talent pools will deplete. Remember the ‘talented’ kids are susceptible as well – they have the same development needs and wants as every other child.

So in short, if we keep things fun and purely encourage our children, which can be achieved in just 6 simple words by the way, then they actually become better performing athletes. Keeping things fun will mean our kids will want to play more, more often and with little to no encouragement needed – you’ll have self-motivated, hardworking, fearless kids on your hands. A powerful resource in the quest of winning!