A summary of evidenced-based policy guidance on participant development, athlete development and talent development programmes (Till & Baker, 2020; Côté & Hancock, 2016; LaPrade et al., 2016; Côté et al, 2009; Vaeyens, 2008)), including the IOC’s consensus statement on youth athletic development (Bergeron et al., 2015), positions the following:
i. Talent is a complex and largely misunderstood phenomenon lacking robust research evidence, and given concerns that it is potentially unhealthy, talent identification and selection at younger ages is not recommended.
ii. Diversification and variability of athletic exposure between and within sports should be encouraged and promoted.
iii. Competition formats and settings should be age and skill appropriate, while allowing for sufficient rest and recovery time between multiple same-day contests.
iv. Quality coaches should support participant and athlete development by providing a challenging and enjoyable sporting climate that focuses on each athlete’s personal assets and mastery orientation.
v. Coaching practice should evidence-informed and be aligned with the context, age, stage and motivation of the young person.