Talents Not Talent
Updated: Apr 24
Last year, my son Alex and I reached out to Dr. Joe Baker regarding Alex's school project on the Relative Age Effect in sports. Dr. Baker graciously gave my son an opportunity to interview him. After completing his school project, Alex and I wrote an article together for the Soccer Journal on the Relative Age Effect in soccer. We share some valuable insights about what RAE is and specifically what administrators, coaches, and parents need to know. Most importantly, we include a list of practical strategies to reduce the negative effects of RAE for future soccer players.
One of the key issues within the RAE conversation is talent identification and development. For a comprehensive look at talent, be sure to read Dr. Baker's book, The Tyranny of Talent. His book is a fascinating blend of history, research, stories, and thought-provoking examples.
My most significant take away is really thinking about talent as being plural... talents... it's not just about being a talented soccer player per se but having many smaller talents/abilities/skills/genes that in combination (and in a conducive environment) make a great soccer player.
For athletes, it is important to understand that talent is really a combination of many talents on a continuum. It's not talented or untalented... there's a range with many contributing factors. When working with athletes, building self awareness and healthy self perception around talent can be very beneficial. Another set of good habits we can build over time! #buildgoodhabitsovertime