10 Surprising Truths from the World’s Most Successful Talent Hotbed

A great post from Dan Coyle at The Talent Code:

Question: If you had the opportunity to get inside one of the world’s top talent hotbeds, which would you choose? You could make a good case for German soccer academies, or Finnish high schools, or any number of top music academies. But there’s one hotbed that might rank above them all, one hotbed that’s so ass-kickingly, fascinatingly dominant that they make the others seem positively lukewarm.

Chinese divers.

The list is well worth reading for all coaches and sports organisers.

Thanks to John Kessel for the link.

What makes a good coach?

This piece by Dr. Alan Goldberg is one of the best essays on coaching I have ever read.

Coaches who typically get too caught up in their won-loss record, who tend to focus too much on the importance of the outcome are always most vulnerable to making the kinds of unfortunate mistakes with their players that I’ve described above. [...]

What may seem obvious to some isn’t that obvious to all: Winning records are an extremely limiting and inaccurate way to judge the quality and effectiveness of a coach. Simply put, winning doesn’t make you a good coach in the same way that losing doesn’t make you a bad one. The fact of the matter is that judging a coach’s abilities and effectiveness based on the record of his/her team is to totally miss the complexity behind good and bad coaching.

As always, thanks to John Kessel for sending this one our way.


“The less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it” 
― Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

An article worth reading by Mark O’Sullivan at footblogball:

When we test a players skill level under conditions that do not reflect the performance environment, the player will alter his behaviour and base his response on the test environment.

There are many counter-productive ideologies in youth sport. Just like our education system where we confuse intelligence with academic ability we confuse performance with talent. We also confuse technique with game intelligence.

Thanks once again to John Kessell for the link.

The Optimists

This video will make your weekend.

Despite their weekly training sessions the volleyball ladies THE OPTIMISTS (66-98) have not played a match for 30 years. Now this is exactly the plan. But against whom? Rumours say there is a group of handsome Swedish gentlemen across the border. Goro (98) is the Queen of the team with her will power and purple Converse shoes. Laughter is their match strategy.

Many of us fear age. Maybe these ball playing ladies will change our ideas.

Thanks to John Kessel for sending us the link.

Why Talent Selection Does Not Always Work

John Kessel forwarded us this article by US soccer coach John O'Sullivan, which is well worth the read:

We have seen firsthand our obsession with winning, which forces us to select the biggest, fastest kids at young ages to win now, instead of identifying kids that might evolve into future elite players. Why do we do this? Because, as the case of Simon Kjaer points out, talent identification is really, really hard!

Highly trained, professional coaches cannot say with certainty who will make it and who will not, even at 15 years old, as the Kjaer story points out. In our country, more often than not lightly-trained, part-time coaches are making that decision, usually at 8 to 10 years old!

This is insane!

Feel free to chime in with any comments from an Australian perspective. We'd love to hear your thoughts.

Dartfish Express

Dartfish is a fantastic app for demonstrating correct technique, or identifying faults. Currently on sale for 99¢ on the Apple App Store.

From the developers:

Dartfish, which was used by over 40% of the medal winners at the London Olympic Games, has always been providing video analysis solutions to the world’s leading sports teams.

We now have an award winning video analysis app for IOS devices that is perfectly suited for all sports programs. It was featured by Apple in their keynote introduction to the ipad 5 and won the Tabby Award for best worldwide tablet app in the Sport and Fitness category.

Thanks to John Kessel for notifying us of this great deal.