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Athletic Talent
Athletic Talent

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In this text, Dr. Issurin delves deep into the identification and development of athletic talent. Attention is given to a wide variety of sports and athletes at various stages of their sporting careers. Intriguing research reviews are combined with practical accounts from world-class coaches and athletes to provide a well-rounded presentation of the subject matter
Table of Contents
  • Athletic talent: discovery and embodiment

    Introduction: the problem and its history, importance, complexity, expectations of practice

    Part 1. Scientific background of Athletic Talent studies in different

    Chapter 1. Human talent: general overview

    1. Basic positions related to phenomenon of human talent

    2. Arguments and findings in support the concept of “natural talent”

      1. Early discovery of exceptional abilities and skills

      2. Achievement of outstanding mastery without professional support and assistance

      3. Availability of biological traits and markers

    3. Evidences and concepts contradicting to paradigm of natural talent

      1. Arguments against existence of natural talent

      2. The theory of 10 years deliberate practice Summary

    Chapter 2. Athletic talent: Methodological foundation

    2.1. Basic positions and concepts in theory of athletic talent

    2.2. Earlier studies of athletic talent 2.2.1. Evidences from East Germany 2.2.2. Evidences and study outcomes from the USSR 2.2.3. Evidences and findings of studies conducted in different countries 2.3. Contemporary projects of athletic talent investigation 2.3.1. Framework of prospective and innovative projects 2.3.2. Evidences of studies evaluated giftedness in young athletes Summary

    Chapter 3. Athletic talent: biological and psychological prerequisites 3.1. Genetic determinants of athletic talent 3.1.1. Outstanding sports families 3.1.2. Genetic determination of somatic traits, physical and coordination abilities 3.1.3. Genetic determination of the cumulative training effect 3.1.4. Evidences from molecular sport genetics 3.2. Psychological background of athletic talent 3.2.1. Psychological framework of exceptional mastery of talented athletes 3.2.2. Psychological characteristics of young gifted prospects 3.2.3. Realization of psychological prerequisites of athletic talent in social life Summary

    Chapter 4. Long-term preparation of gifted and talented athletes 4.1. Preparation of young prospects 4.1.1. Stages of multi-year preparation 4.1.2. Sensitive periods and impact of maturation 4.2. Early specialization 4.2.1. Possible negative aspects of early specialization 4.2.2. The arguments and outcomes in support of early specialization 4.2.3. Several concluding remarks 4.3. Trainability of young athletes 4.3.1. Training response for strength exercises 4.3.2. Training response for endurance exercises 4.3.3. Motor skills acquisition and perfection 4.4. General tendencies concerned preparation of adult outstanding athletes 4.4.1. Particularities of sport histories of outstanding athletes 4.4.2. Temporal trends in training workloads and motor potential of world-class athletes 4.4.3. Particularities of psychological and physiological adaptations 4.4.4. Particularities and several aspects of coaching the talented athletes Summary

    Chapter 5. Particularities of preparation and talent discovery in outstanding athletes: evidences from Olympic champions 5.1. Participants’ characteristics and study design 5.2. Premature sport activities and choice of the favorite sport 5.3. Commons and particularities of preliminary preparation 5.3.1. General characteristics of the outstanding athletes’ training during their preliminary preparation 5.3.2. Content of training on the stage of preliminary preparation 5.3.3. External factors of preparation: coaching and parental support 5.4. Longitudinal trend of total training time expenses 5.4.1. Findings of 12 Olympic champions representing “basic group” 5.4.2. Findings of two Olympic champions representing artistic gymnastics 5.5. Evidences of world stars’ preparation vs. Ericsson’s theory of 10 years of deliberate practice 5.6. Earlier indicators of sport-specific giftedness


    Chapter 6. Estimation of athletic talent by prominent coaches 6.1. General characteristics of respondents and questionnaire 6.2. Opinions and comments of prominent coaches-experts 6.3. Summary and consideration of prominent coaches’ opinions

    Part 2. Outcomes of Athletic Talent studies in different sports

    Chapter 7. Endurance aquatic sports 7.1. Swimming 7.1.1. Predisposition to high-performance swimming 7.1.2. Particularities of gifted swimmers aged 14 years 7.1.3. Elite swimmers 7.2. Canoe-kayak 7.2.1. Junior canoe-kayak paddlers 7.2.2. Elite canoe-kayak paddlers 7.3. Rowing 7.3.1. Junior rowers 7.3.2. Elite adult rowers Summary

    Chapter 8. Endurance terrestrial sports 8.1. Endurance running 8.1.1. Junior endurance runners 8.1.2. Elite adult endurance runners 8.2. Cycling 8.3. Cross country skiing 8.3.1. Junior cross country ski racers 8.3.2. Elite adult cross country ski racers 8.4. Triathlon Summary

    Chapter 9. Team and dual sports 9.1. Soccer 9.1.1. Youth soccer players 9.1.2. Elite adult soccer players 9.2. Basketball 9.3. Volleyball 9.3.1. Junior volleyball players 9.3.2. Elite adult volleyball players 9.4. Team handball 9.4.1. Junior handball players 9.4.2. Elite adult handball players 9.5. Tennis 9.5.1. Junior tennis players 9.5.2. Elite adult tennis players Summary

    Chapter 10. Combat sports 10.1. Boxing 10.2. Judo 10.3. Wrestling 10.3.1. Junior high-performance wrestlers 10.3.2. Elite adult wrestlers 10.4. Fencing Summary

    Chapter 11. Speed-strength disciplines and gymnastics 11.1. Speed-strength disciplines 11.2. Gymnastics Summary

    Athletic talent: general overview

    1. Innate talent: pro and contra

    2. Talent in sport: basics and contra-versions

    Major contributors of athletic talent

    1. Hereditary factors: somatic and physiological determinants

    2. Psychological factors

    3. Familial support

    4. General environmental factors

    Talent development

    1. Stages of long-term preparation