Shoulda, Coulda, Didnae—Why Don’t High-Potential Players Make it?

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Given the nonlinear nature of talent development, there is a lack of research investigating those who do not “make it.” Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to explore the reasons that performers of high potential did not meet their expected performance level. Participants, who were experienced talent developers in high-level academies from football and rugby, identified 5 broad reasons for these failures: lack of mental skills, serendipity, pathway-based failures, maladaptive family input, and lack of physical skills. Using a 3-part focus derived from the data, the authors suggest ways that talent pathways can optimize their output and prevent these failures.

Taylor is with the Leicester Tigers, Oval Park Training Ground, Oadby, United Kingdom. Collins is with the Inst. for Coaching and Performance, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, United Kingdom, and Grey Matters Performance Ltd., Royal Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom.

Taylor (Jamie.Taylor@tigers.co.uk) is corresponding author.
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