Publication

Methodological Issues in Soccer Talent Identification Research

Bergkamp, T. L. G., Niessen, A. S. M., den Hartigh, R. J. R., Frencken, W. G. P. & Meijer, R. R., Sep-2019, In : Sports Medicine. 49, 9, p. 1317–1335 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Talent identification research in soccer comprises the prediction of elite soccer performance. While many studies in this field have aimed to empirically relate performance characteristics to subsequent soccer success, a critical evaluation of the methodology of these studies has mostly been absent in the literature. In this position paper, we discuss advantages and limitations of the design, validity, and utility of current soccer talent identification research. Specifically, we draw on principles from selection psychology that can contribute to best practices in the context of making selection decisions across domains. Based on an extensive search of the soccer literature, we identify four methodological issues from this framework that are relevant for talent identification research, i.e. (1) the operationalization of criterion variables (the performance to be predicted) as performance levels; (2) the focus on isolated performance indicators as predictors of soccer performance; (3) the effects of range restriction on the predictive validity of predictors used in talent identification; and (4) the effect of the base rate on the utility of talent identification procedures. Based on these four issues, we highlight opportunities and challenges for future soccer talent identification studies that may contribute to developing evidence-based selection procedures. We suggest for future research to consider the use of individual soccer criterion measures, to adopt representative, high-fidelity predictors of soccer performance, and to take restriction of range and the base rate into account.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1317–1335
Number of pages19
JournalSports Medicine
Volume49
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2019

    Keywords

  • Selection psychology, Talent development, Sport performance, Psychometrics, YOUTH SOCCER, PERFORMANCE-CHARACTERISTICS, STEPWISE REGRESSION, EXPERT PERFORMANCE, RANGE RESTRICTION, EARLY ADOLESCENCE, SELECTION PROCESS, TEAM SPORTS, ELITE, PLAYERS

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