Back Talent Strategy 2021

Selecting on ‘future potential’, what does that really mean?

If we look at research and evidence across team sports such as hockey, football and rugby, we know that the highest performing players at a young age e.g. 13 / 14 years of age, are often not the players who go on to excel at a senior level. Therefore, it’s important to consider a player’s future potential as well as their current performance. 

Several factors can be important when thinking about future potential. To bring this to life with a few examples: consider a young player’s attacking and goal scoring ability. They may get into great positions, reading the game very well, and have good technical ball skills, but due to their current physical development they don’t hit the ball hard enough to consistently trouble the goalkeeper. However, your assessment is that they have high future potential given further physical development and growth.

 Another example would be a player who demonstrates several exceptional physical and psychological qualities but has only been playing hockey for a short time, so their skills profile is limited. However, they have shown a real capacity to learn and develop. Given this overall profile you may rate them as having high future potential, though their current performance is limited. So future potential is in many ways about the lens through which we observe a player and make judgements.