Western Approaches for the identification and development of talent in schools and sports contexts from 2009 to 2019 - a literature review

Irene R. Faber*, Lena Sloot, Lianne Hoogeveen, Marije T. Elferink-Gemser, Jörg Schorer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review


This literature review provides an overview of the various modern approaches in talent programs for the context of schools and sports reported in scientific journals (2009–2019) and presents their similarities and differences and options for cross-pollination between contexts. This is a first attempt to overarch contexts regarding talent identification and development. Searches in 12 databases yielded 31 studies. Similarities and differences between contexts were distilled through a qualitative content analysis and described for the identification of talent and talent development. Based on these results, it is suggested that school contexts might benefit from including a talent transfer pathway, differentiating for maturity-level and sex, emphasizing on deliberate practice, monitoring load-ability, and applying acceleration, which are proposed approaches in the sport context. Furthermore, several approaches from the school context could enhance talent programs in sport, including universal screening, paying attention to underserved populations, focusing on creativity and enrichment as well as enhancing the accountability and education level of trainers/coaches. Future studies need to evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of approaches in practice. Moreover, the search could be expanded to other countries to establish a more global view while examining national patterns regarding policy and funding contexts in which programs are located.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-168
JournalHigh Ability Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2021


  • Giftedness
  • child
  • adolescents
  • talent programs
  • sports
  • education

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