Talent Identification in Youth Basketball: Talent Scouts’ Perceptions of the Key Attributes for Athlete Development

Click name to view affiliation

Paul Larkin Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Maribyrnong Sports Academy, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Search for other papers by Paul Larkin in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0493-4148 *
,
Madison Sanford Institute of Health and Wellbeing, Federation University Australia, Ballarat, VIC, Australia

Search for other papers by Madison Sanford in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Scott Talpey Institute of Health and Wellbeing, Federation University Australia, Ballarat, VIC, Australia

Search for other papers by Scott Talpey in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0791-8570
,
Adam D. Gorman School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Search for other papers by Adam D. Gorman in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2847-7268
, and
Matthew J. Reeves UCLan Research Center for Applied Sport, Physical Activity, and Performance, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, United Kingdom

Search for other papers by Matthew J. Reeves in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

The objective of this study is to understand the attributes youth coaches and talent scouts perceive as important when identifying skilled youth basketball players. Youth coaches and talent scouts (n = 40) from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and United States with an average of 14.09 (±9.77) years of experience completed an online questionnaire. The questionnaire asked participants to rank and justify attributes for identifying potentially talented youth basketball players according to their perceived importance. In addition, five youth coaches and talent scouts completed a semistructured interview that elaborated on how they identify these attributes in national-level youth players. Results from the questionnaire indicate a hierarchy of attributes coaches/scouts perceive as important for youth basketball performance, including tactical (i.e., decision-making ability), technical (i.e., layup, shooting in the paint, jump shot, rebounding), and psychological attributes (i.e., composure, concentration, adaptability). In addition, the results from the interviews provided more detailed justification for the importance of these attributes within the talent identification process. It is believed talent scouts apply a holistic multidisciplinary approach to talent identification, with the current findings potentially providing evidence to suggest coaches/scouts consider a wide range of tactical, technical, psychological, and physical attributes when identifying youth players.

  • Collapse
  • Expand
  • Abdelkrim, N.B., Chaouachi, A., Chamari, K., Chtara, M., & Castagna, C. (2010). Positional role and competitive-level differences in elite-level men’s basketball players. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 24(5), 13461355. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181cf7510

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Angyan, L., Teczely, T., Zalay, Z., & Karsai, I. (2003). Relationship of anthropometrical, physiological and motor attributes to sport-specific skills. Acta Physiologica Hungarica, 90(3), 225231. https://doi.org/10.1556/APhysiol.90.2003.3.5

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Arede, J., Fernandes, J., Moran, J., Norris, J., & Leite, N. (2021). Maturity timing and performance in a youth national basketball team: Do early-maturing players dominate? International Journal of Sport Science and Coaching, 16(3), 772730. https://doi.org/10.1177/1747954120980712

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Arede, J., Ferreira, A.P., Gonzalo-Skok, O., & Leite, N. (2019). Maturation development as a key aspect in physiological performance and national-team selection in elite make basketball players. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 14(7), 902910. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2018-0681

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Arede, J., Freitas, T.T., Johnson, D., Fernandes, J.F., Williams, S., Moran, J., & Leite, N. (2022). Training load, maturity timing and future national team selection in national youth basketball players. Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology, 7(1), Article 21. https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk7010021

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Arede, J., Oliveira, I., Gomez, M.A., Leite, N. (2021). A multi-block multivariate analysis to explore the influence of the somatic maturation in youth basketball. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, Article 602576. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.602576

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Baker, J., Cobley, S., Schorer, J., & Wattie, N. (Eds.). (2017). Routledge handbook of talent identification and development in sport. Taylor & Francis.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Berzofsky, M.E., McKay, T., Hsieh, Y.P., & Smith, A. (2018). Probability-based samples on Twitter: Methodology and application. Survey Practice, 11(2), 112. https://doi.org/10.29115/SP-2018-0033

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bitsch, V. (2005). Qualitative research: A grounded theory example and evaluation criteria. Journal of Agribusiness, 23, 7591.

  • Burns, L., Weissensteiner, J.R., & Cohen, M. (2019). Supportive interpersonal relationships: A key component to high performance sport. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 53(22), 13861389. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2018-100312

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carless, D., & Douglas, K. (2013). Living, resisting, and playing the part of athlete: Narrative tensions in elite sport. Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 14(5), 701708. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2013.05.003

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carter, J.E.L., Ackland, T.R., Kerr, D.A., & Stapff, A.B. (2005). Somatotype and size of elite female basketball players. Journal of Sports Sciences, 23(10), 10571063. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640410400023233

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carvalho, H.M., Gonçalves, C.E., Collins, D., & Paes, R.R. (2018). Growth, functional capacities and motivation for achievement and competitiveness in youth basketball: An interdisciplinary approach. Journal of Sports Sciences, 36(7), 742748. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2017.1340654

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carvalho, H.M., Silva, M., Figueiredo, A.J., Gonçalves, C.E., Philippaerts, R.M., Castagna, C., & Malina, R.M. (2011). Predictors of maximal short term power outputs in basketball players 14–16 years. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 111(5), 789796. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-010-1703-4

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carvalho, H.M., Silva, M., Santos, J., Gonçalves, R.S., Philippaerts, R., & Malina, R. (2012). Scaling lower-limb isokinetic strength for biological maturation and body size in adolescent basketball players. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 112(8), 28812889. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-011-2259-7

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Creswell, J.W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches (2nd ed.). Sage Publications.

  • Cupples, B., & O’Connor, D. (2011). The development of position-specific performance indicators in elite youth rugby league: A coach’s perspective. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 6(1), 125141. https://doi.org/10.1260/1747-9541.6.1.125

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • DiFiori, J.P., Güllich, A., Brenner, J.S., Côté, J., Hainline, B., Ryan, E., & Malina, R.M. (2018). The NBA and youth basketball: Recommendations for promoting a healthy and positive experience. Sports Medicine, 48(9), 20532065. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-018-0950-0

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Drinkwater, E.J., Pyne, D.B., & McKenna, M.J. (2008). Design and interpretation of anthropometric and fitness testing of basketball players. Sports Medicine, 38(7), 565578. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200838070-00004

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Erčulj, F., Blas, M., & Bračič, M. (2010). Physical demands on young elite European female basketball players with special reference to speed, agility, explosive strength, and take-off power. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 24(11), 29702978. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181e38107

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Figueiredo, A.J., Gonçalves, C.E., Coelho e Silva, M.J., & Malina, R.M. (2009). Characteristics of youth soccer players who drop out, persist or move up. Journal of Sports Sciences, 27(9), 883891. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640410902946469

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fletcher, D., & Sarkar, M. (2016). Mental fortitude training: An evidence-based approach to developing psychological resilience for sustained success. Journal of Sport Psychology in Action, 7(3), 135157. https://doi.org/10.1080/21520704.2016.1255496

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gál-Pottyondy, A., Petró, B., Czétényi, A., Négyesi, J., Nagatomi, R., & Kiss, R.M. (2021). Field testing protocols for talent identification and development in basketball—A systematic review. Applied Sciences, 11(10), Article 4340. https://doi.org/10.3390/app11104340

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Garcia-Gil, M., Torres-Unda, J., Esain, I., Duñabeitia, I., Gil, S.M., Gil, J., & Irazusta, J. (2018). Anthropometric parameters, age, and agility as performance predictors in elite female basketball players. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 32(6), 17231730. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000002043

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gómez, M.Á., Lorenzo, A., Jiménez, S., Navarro, R.M., & Sampaio, J. (2015). Examining choking in basketball: Effects of game outcome and situational variables during last 5 minutes and overtimes. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 120(1), 111124. https://doi.org/10.2466/25.29.PMS.120v11x0

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gonçalves, C.E., Coelho e Silva, M.J., Carvalho, H.M., & Gonçalves, Â. (2011). Why do they engage in such hard programs? The search for excellence in youth basketball. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, 10(3), 458464.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Groves, B., & Gayle, R. (1993). Physiological changes in male basketball players in year-round strength training. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 7, 3033.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Guba E.G. (1981). Criteria for assessing the trustworthiness of naturalistic inquiries. Educational Communication and Technology Journal, 29(2), 7591. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02766777

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gucciardi, D.F., Gordon, S., & Dimmock, J.A. (2008). Towards an understanding of mental toughness in Australian football. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 20(3), 261281. https://doi.org/10.1080/10413200801998556

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Guimarães, E., Baxter-Jones, A., Maia, J., Fonseca, P., Santos, A., Santos, E., Tavares, F., & Janeira, M.A. (2019). The roles of growth, maturation, physical fitness, and technical skills on selection for a Portuguese under-14 years basketball team. Sports, 7(3), Article 61. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7030061

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Guimarães, E., Baxter-Jones, A.D., Williams, A.M., Tavares, F., Janeira, M.A., & Maia, J. (2021). The role of growth, maturation and sporting environment on the development of performance and technical and tactical skills in youth basketball players: The INEX study. Journal of Sports Sciences, 39(9), 979991. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2020.1853334

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Headrick, J., Renshaw, I., Davids, K., Pinder, R.A., & Araújo, D. (2015). The dynamics of expertise acquisition in sport: The role of affective learning design. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 16, 8390. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2014.08.006

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hoare, D.G. (2000). Predicting success in junior elite basketball players - the contribution of anthropometric and physiological attributes. Journal of Science & Medicine in Sport, 3(4), 391405. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1440-2440(00)80006-7

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hoare, D.G., & Warr, C.R. (2000). Talent identification and women’s soccer: An Australian experience. Journal of Sports Sciences, 18(9), 751758. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640410050120122

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Huijgen, B.C., Elferink-Gemser, M.T., Post, W.J., & Visscher, C. (2009). Soccer skill development in professionals. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 30(8), 585591. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0029-1202354

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Joseph, J., McIntyre, F., Joyce, C., Scanlan, A., & Cripps, A. (2021). A comparison of multidimensional qualities discriminant of selection in elite adolescent Australian basketball athletes. PLoS One, 16(8), Article e0256032. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0256032

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kelle, U. (2006). Combining qualitative and quantitative methods in research practice: Purposes and advantages. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(4), 293311. https://doi.org/10.1177/1478088706070839

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Larkin, P., & O’Connor, D. (2017). Talent identification and recruitment in youth soccer: Recruiter’s perceptions of the key attributes for player recruitment. PLoS One, 12(4), Article e0175716. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0175716

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Larkin, P., & Reeves, M.J. (2018). Junior-elite football: Time to re-position talent identification? Soccer & Society, 19(8), 11831192. https://doi.org/10.1080/14660970.2018.1432389

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Larkin, P., Marchant, D., Syder, A., & Farrow, D. (2020). An eye for talent: The recruiters’ role in the Australian football talent pathway. PLoS One, 15(11), Article e0241307. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0241307

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lex, H., Essig K., Knoblach A., & Schack, T. (2015). Cognitive representations and cognitive processing of team-specific tactics in soccer. PLoS One, 10(2), Article e0118219. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0118219

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McEwan, D., & Beauchamp, M.R. (2014). Teamwork in sport: A theoretical and integrative review. International Review of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 7(1), 229250. https://doi.org/10.1080/1750984X.2014.932423

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McGuine, T.A., Greene, J.J., Best, T., & Leverson, G. (2000). Balance as a predictor of ankle injuries in high school basketball players. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, 10(4), 239244. https://doi.org/10.1097/00042752-200010000-00003

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Meylan, C., Cronin, J., Oliver, J., & Hughes, M. (2010). Talent identification in soccer: The role of maturity status on physical, physiological and technical characteristics. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 5(4), 571592. https://doi.org/10.1260/1747-9541.5.4.571

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Miller, D.C. (1972). Measuring cross-national norms: Methodological problems in identifying patterns in Latin American and Anglo-Saxon countries. International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 13(3), 201216.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Parker, C, Scott, S, & Geddes, A. (2019). Snowball sampling. In P. Atkinson, S. Delamont, A. Cernat, J.W. Sakshaug, & R.A. Williams (Eds.), SAGE research methods foundations. SAGE Publications Ltd. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781526421036831710

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pino-Ortega, J., Rojas-Valverde, D., Gómez-Carmona, C.D., & Rico-González, M. (2021). Training design, performance analysis, and talent identification—A systematic review about the most relevant variables through the principal component analysis in Soccer, Basketball, and Rugby. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(5), Article 2642. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052642

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ramos, S., Volossovitch, A., Ferreira, A.P., Fragoso, I., & Massuça, L. (2019). Differences in maturity, morphological and physical attributes between players selected to the primary and secondary teams of a Portuguese Basketball elite academy. Journal of Sports Sciences, 37(15), 16811689. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2019.1585410

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Reeves, M.J., Littlewood, M.A., McRobert, A.P., & Roberts, S.J. (2018). The nature and function of talent identification in junior-elite football in English category one academies. Soccer & Society, 19(8), 11221134. https://doi.org/10.1080/14660970.2018.1432385

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Reeves, M.J., McRobert, A.P., Lewis, C.J., & Roberts, S.J. (2019). A case study of the use of verbal reports for talent identification purposes in soccer: A Messi affair! PLoS One, 14(11), Article e0225033. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0225033

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Roberts, S.J., McRobert, A.P., Lewis, C.J., & Reeves, M.J. (2019). Establishing consensus of position-specific predictors for elite youth soccer in England. Science & Medicine in Football, 3(3), 205213. https://doi.org/10.1080/24733938.2019.1581369

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rogers, M., Crozier, A.J., Schranz, N.K., Eston, R.G., & Tomkinson, G.R. (2022). Player profiling and monitoring in basketball: A Delphi study of the most important non-game performance indicators from the perspective of elite athlete coaches. Sports Medicine, 52(5), 11751187. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-021-01584-w

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rösch, D., Ströbele, M.G., Leyhr, D., Ibáñez, S.J., & Höner, O. (2022). Performance differences in male youth basketball players according to selection status and playing position: An evaluation of the basketball learning and performance assessment instrument. Frontiers in Psychology, 13, Article 859897. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.859897

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Scanlan, A., Dascombe, B., & Reaburn, P. (2011). A comparison of the activity demands of elite and sub-elite Australian men’s basketball competition. Journal of Sports Sciences, 29(11), 11531160.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Scanlan, A., Humphries, B., Tucker, P.S., & Dalbo, V. (2014). The influence of physical and cognitive factors on reactive agility performance in men basketball players. Journal of Sports Sciences, 32(4), 367374. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2013.825730

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Scanlan, A.T., Tucker, P.S., Dascombe, B.J., Berkelmans, D.M., Hiskens, M.I., & Dalbo, V.J. (2015). Fluctuations in activity demands across game quarters in professional and semiprofessional male basketball. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 29(11), 30063015.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sherwood, S., Smith, T., & Masters, R.W. (2019). Pattern recall, decision making and talent identification in rugby union. European Journal of Sport Science, 19(6), 834841. https://doi.org/10.1080/17461391.2018.1545051

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Spiteri, T., Binetti, M., Scanlan, A.T., Dalbo, V.J., Dolci, F., & Specos, C. (2019). Physical determinants of division 1 collegiate basketball, women’s national basketball league, and women’s national basketball association athletes: With reference to lower-body sidedness. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 33(1), 159166. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000001905

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Torres-Unda, J., Zarrazquin, I., Gil, J., Ruiz, F., Irazusta, A., Kortajarena, M., Seco, J., & Irazusta, J. (2013). Anthropometric, physiological and maturational characteristics in selected elite and non-elite male adolescent basketball players. Journal of Sports Sciences, 31(2), 196203. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2012.725133

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Unnithan, V., White, J., Georgiou, A., Iga, J., & Drust, B. (2012). Talent identification in youth soccer. Journal of Sports Sciences, 30(15), 17191726. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2012.731515

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vilar, L., Araújo, D., Davids, K., & Renshaw, I. (2012). The need for ‘representative task design’ in evaluating efficacy of skills tests in sport: A comment on Russell, Benton and Kingsley (2010). Journal of Sports Sciences, 30(16), 17271730. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2012.679674

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Warriner, K., & Lavallee, D. (2008). The retirement experiences of elite female gymnasts: Self identity and the physical self. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 20, 301317. https://doi.org/10.1080/10413200801998564

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Williams, A.M., Ford, P.R., & Drust, B. (2020). Talent identification and development in soccer since the millennium. Journal of Sports Sciences, 38(11–12), 11991210. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2020.1766647

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Williams, A.M., & Reilly, T. (2000). Talent identification and development in soccer. Journal of Sports Sciences, 18(9), 657667. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640410050120041

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wiseman, A.C., Bracken, N., Horton, S., & Weir, P.L. (2014). The difficulty of talent identification: Inconsistency among coaches through skill-based assessment of youth hockey players. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 9(3), 447455. https://doi.org/10.1260/1747-9541.9.3.447

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zarić, I., Kukić, F., Jovićević, N., Zarić, M., Marković, M., Toskić, L., & Dopsaj, M. (2020). Body height of elite basketball players: Do taller basketball teams rank better at the FIBA World Cup? International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health, 17(9), Article 3141. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093141

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zhang, S., Lorenzo, A., Gómez, M., Mateus, N., Gonçalves, B., & Sampaio, J. (2018). Clustering performances in the NBA according to players’ anthropometric attributes and playing experience and playing experience. Journal of Sports Sciences, 36(22), 25112520. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2018.1466493

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 2236 1189 93
Full Text Views 144 110 0
PDF Downloads 142 87 0