Reflections on Talent Development: Roles, Philosophies and Conflicts

Borrie, Andrew (2021) Reflections on Talent Development: Roles, Philosophies and Conflicts. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/AP4997ZE

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This study explored the philosophies have underpinned UK sporting talent development programmes using an autoethnographic approach to critique the researcher’s professional career, as it related to the talent development domain. An analytical, rather than evocative, approach was taken to conducting and reporting the autoethnography. The initial stage of the autoethnography used the systematic review of a large pool of the researcher’s documents and work files to stimulate intensive reflection on the researcher’s experiences in the worlds of high-performance sport and education. These reflections were subsequently critiqued in relation to literature relating to philosophy, culture and practice relating to talented athletes. This critique identified a number of problems in the talent domain stemming from the unquestioned primacy of instrumental rationality as a guiding philosophy. Instrumental rationality places the end outcome of a process as being more important than the means to achieve that outcome. Consequently, the growth of a young athlete as a person has become secondary to sports’ desire to create elite sport performers. In looking for solutions to the challenge of instrumental rationality two alternate philosophical perspectives were explored: craftsmanship and elite Bildung. Both these perspectives are based on existential approaches to learning and prioritise the personal growth of the learner above specific performance outcomes. Using these as a base a ‘excellence literacy was proposed as a new paradigm for talent development. Excellence literacy proposes that the focus in talent development should be twofold. Firstly, the creation of young athletes who value the process of pursuing excellence above the outcome of that pursuit. Secondly, the development of young athletes who are able to exercise agency in creating their own identity and life narrative.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sporting talent development; Sport, philosophy; Elite athlete identity
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Applied Sciences
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 03 May 2023 16:13
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 09:07

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