The roles of talent, physical precocity and practice in the development of soccer expertise

TitleThe roles of talent, physical precocity and practice in the development of soccer expertise
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsHelsen W, Hodges NJ, Starkes JL, Van Winckel J
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Volume18
Pagination727-736
AbstractHere we consider the potential contributions of talent, physical precocity and deliberate practice in the development of soccer expertise. After presenting a working definition of 'talent', we examine how coaches perceive and select potential talent. Our findings suggest that much of what coaches see as early talent may be explained by physical precocity associated with a relative age advantage. Finally, as a test of the model of Deliberate Practice, we review the results of studies that assessed the progress of international, national and provincial players based on accumulated practice, amount of practice per week and relative importance and demands of various practice and everyday activities. A positive linear relationship was found between accumulated individual plus team practice and skill. Various practical suggestions can be made to improve talent detection and selection and to optimize career practice patterns in soccer.
Refereed DesignationRefereed