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  • Talent Identification

    The thriving 'bobsleigh' thread and a couple of BBC articles had me return to one of my favourite topics, Talent Identification, today. I really believe that a lot of potential is lost through young talent not finding the right sport, be it lack of opportunities or governing bodies not being proactive enough.

    A young lad, David Ojabo, is about to do what Lawrence Okoye tried to do, and follow an NFL dream. He grew up in Scotland, his parents were from Nigeria, he is 6,5, ran a 100m in 10.8, and went to the US on a basketball scholarship. I wonder if he was ever on Scotland Athletics radar?

    Another example is Cornelius Kersten, who has been selected for Team GB in the long track speed skating, the first British athlete to do so in 30 years. I don't suppose there are many of the right facilities for this sport in the UK [the Netherlands apparantly has 17 400m ice rinks and is a national obsession compared to the US that has 2] but I wonder, given the number of T&F athletes who have tried bobsleigh, whether short and long track speed skating has attracted many to try...

    More broadly we might use this thread to highllght other T&F athletes trying other sports or suggestions thereof ...

  • #2
    I don't know how many of you follow tennis, but, in the past week Harriet Dart made it into the main draw of the 'Indian Wells' tournament having done very well to qualify and then beat a couple of highly ranked players. Why do I mention this, well interestingly enough in an interview she is asked

    WTA Insider: Did you try any other sports?

    Dart: I was actually a decent long-distance runner. I had to choose at some point whether I was going to play tennis or long-distance. My dad advised me to keep playing tennis because women in tennis, with Billie Jean King paving the way for equal prize money and all of that, the opportunities in tennis were better than in running.

    full interview here

    https://www.wtatennis.com/news/25350...n-indian-wells


    I lurk on a great tennis forum, for those interested, search britishtennis.activeboard.com




    Comment


    • LoveSprints1
      LoveSprints1 commented
      Editing a comment
      Interesting. I could not find her on Po10. There is a Harriet Dart listed but she is a U20 and this one is now 25. As she seems to have taken tennis seriously from age 13 it's unlikely she had an opportunity to do long distances. Many sporty kids have the opportunity to do a lot of different events at a young age, even more, if they are in the independent school system in the UK. It's not unusual for them to be good at a range of sports before they specialise. Christine Ohuruogu was an England U17 international netballer who only started training in athletics for fitness and Adam Gemili came over from football and Toby Harries from rugby.

  • #3
    Harriet Dart has been representing the British Ladies in the Billy Jean King cup this weekend...

    a tenuous seque to bump this thread forward ... and so i can share with my fellow forum users that i also sent an email to UK Athletics about my 'Jump to Success' [a talent ID programme targetting former gymansts for triple jump] proposal - I was told it would be forwarded to Christian Malcolm [per my request], but again, I have heard nothing since...

    Comment


    • #4
      As the Commonwealth Games comes to a close I want to draw some observations in regards to one of my favourite topics, Talent Identification. [stop yawning at the back there J]

      The boxing went very well for the Home Nations and another Super Heavyweight emerges into the public consciousness, Delicious Orie. It was mentioned several times that he only took up boxing at 17, after playing basketball, now I don’t know to what level he played the hoops, but I do wonder if his PE teacher ever introduced him to athletics at some point?

      I ask this as clearly this was a lad looking for the sport in which he can excel, but there are thousands of others that don’t find it.

      I have mentioned this before, but in the run up to London 2012 there was a mighty push in TD. I invited the powers-to-be to the inner city FE college I was working at, which had a small but willing sports department. Two or three of the students were exceptional young talents, physically gifted [2m plus], albeit hindered by lack of support, as they were all from the local ‘sink’ estates. Of course UK Sport didn’t take up my invite, and trying to get a couple of them to Loughborough for the organised ‘talen ID event’ was never going to happen, it was a small miracle to get them to college on time and not arrested.

      My point… Not enough is being done to give such young people a chance to find any sport [two of my example were playing basketball on the local concrete grounds]. Let alone the right sport in which to excel and get a ticket out of very challenging circumstances. I worked on projects with a couple of Premier League football clubs, who have very good engagement programmes in the community, but it is very football –centric. The recent BBC show with ‘Freddie’ Flintoff returning to Preston to engage local youth in cricket was a fine effort, but when the cameras leave, does the interest remain?

      Second, I watched the men’s gymnastics very closely, with my ‘Jump to Success’ idea in mind. The gymnasts displayed amazing core strength, the skill to put together very complex moves, and the discipline to hit key marks. All are necessary requirements to compete in the triple jump. I remain completely convinced that a gymnast could transfer their skills to triple jump and succeed [at least a 17m jump] in a very short time frame [Paris 2024]. When it comes to the ladies, of course the same applies, though I would try to identify maybe a former gymnast who has ‘outgrown’ the sport. Thier bodies will be accustomed to the 'forces' involved and all it would take is some vision by UK Athletics ...

      Lastly, the lack of any home nation participants in the men’s 400m was scandalous, at a home venue as well. I know we have discussed this issue at length and many feel that talent is emerging now. Let us hope so. However, aside from the fact, as JJimboJames noted, Zharnel Hughes should be running the event in relays at least, what more can be done. Surely those clever people at sport science have a good idea what physiological metrics need to be identified for a speed endurance event. If not, why not, at least use the ‘bleep test’, and apply it to every young footballer at a premier league academy who is just about to be released, having been told he aint going to make it as a professional. [They have probably had the test already]
      At least if one or two show they hit certain metrics, they can be offered a ‘trial’period with a top athletics coach, while they continue to find a club.

      Anyway felt the need to share… thank you for reading.
      Last edited by carterhatch; 08-08-22, 12:10.

      Comment


      • #5
        Looking at the emergence of world-class javelin throwers in cricked-mad India and Pakistan, I wonder if they have any people in those countries keeping an eye out for those players fielding inside the boundary who can comfortable reach the wicket with a throw and asking them if they've tried javelin?

        Talking of other sports, there are considered to be a lot of top netball players who might have made good triple jumpers.

        Comment


        • #6
          Maybe worth pushing the ideas to Jack Bruckner - new guy in charge may be open to new ways of doing things?

          Comment


          • carterhatch
            carterhatch commented
            Editing a comment
            If I had his email I would ... 6 months ago, I sent emails to Cherry Alexander and Christian Malcolm including 'Jump to Success' and other talent ID initiatives. No one bothered to reply.

          • jjimbojames
            jjimbojames commented
            Editing a comment
            He’s quite active on Twitter?

          • carterhatch
            carterhatch commented
            Editing a comment
            Alas, JJimbojames, i am not, and that is unlikely to change [i have drawn a line in the social media sand which I choose not to pass ... ] . If you are, and see any merit to the idea of 'Jump to Success', feel free to tweet him

        • #7
          Greg Rutherford said last week, the LJ talent was there, it's just that they all want to be average sprinters. There are only 2 men who have triple jumped over 16m outdoors this year. That standard must be going back to pre Keith Connor days, a man with the pedigree required to address and change this.

          Comment


          • #8
            The talent doesn’t shrink…it just moves! He’s right, too many 10.3 sprinters don’t look to other events, they either keep plugging away at the 100m or leave the sport.

            Same is true of the hurdles/steeple - the next star of the steeple is currently running mid pack in the 1500m, without realising they could be making teams elsewhere. I don’t remember someone like Imani, Bianca ever doing hurdles as a junior - but that 11.1/11.2 pace with some good technique is how you get Tobi Amusan…or make the semis at CWG over the flat!

            I thought Nicole Y was looking at the 4H…smart move!

            Comment


            • carterhatch
              carterhatch commented
              Editing a comment
              While trying to muster interest in another of my 'initiatives' - Project sub-3 - I quoted Roger Black, '“If you want to now find the next great British 400m runner, he will be between the ages of 18 and 21 and he thinks he’s a 100m runner.” He may have had wind of Charlie Dobson and only knows what he thinks of the fact Ojie Edoburun has never run a 400 [according to Po10].

          • #9
            Originally posted by CAML View Post
            Greg Rutherford said last week, the LJ talent was there, it's just that they all want to be average sprinters. There are only 2 men who have triple jumped over 16m outdoors this year. That standard must be going back to pre Keith Connor days, a man with the pedigree required to address and change this.
            We never took advantage of having Jonathan Edwards, Philips Idowu, Greg Rutherford or Chris Tomlinson in our ranks during their careers. To be in the position where in the triple jump we only have two men who have gone beyond 16 meters all season (and this has been largely the case for almost a decade now, save for Ben Williams's 2019 resurgence), is really depressing. Talking of Williams, he had several, huge fouls in that CWG triple jump final yesterday, all of which would have won gold. With his extensive injury history, that could have been Ben's one and only chance to gain a medal in his career. He'll be kicking himself for his lack of runway discipline.

            If you are a triple jump coach currently, I have to ask, aren't you showing your athletes regular videos of Edwards or Idowu's jumps and technique? Are you just forging along with "what you know" and allowing your jumpers to continue to toil away in the mid-15 meters and being fine with that? Really?

            Haven't you been looking at some of those sprinters you've no doubt seen on the National League circuit and wondered "You know, I think there's an 8m/17m jumper in that man. I don't know why he bothers trying to break 10 seconds, he's got no hope of that. Maybe I could guide him into another direction." Because if they haven't, then they should be doing that as soon as possible!
            Last edited by RunUnlimited; 08-08-22, 16:30.

            Comment


            • carterhatch
              carterhatch commented
              Editing a comment
              Agree entirely, RunUnlimited, spotting an athlete at a meet who could flourish in another event surely is one of the great opportunities available. It was though, very pleasing to see Naomi Metzger finally get a PB and put together a vry good series .

              On your first point, I have said many times before, there is distinct pattern in UK Athletics, where succession planning, or lack of, often occurs, especially when we have a cohort of outstanding athletes in an event, that the governing body seem to think will compete for ever, but when they retire, there is no one to fill the gap as there had been limited resource/time/effort/opportunity for those who followed.

          • #10
            It will be coaching and athletes - too many want the glory events and want to give it “one more year” and then see…and never move. Look at the marathon…too many have this idea that it’s something you do once you’ve become slow at 5/10k on the track…

            Comment


            • #11
              Originally posted by jjimbojames View Post
              It will be coaching and athletes - too many want the glory events and want to give it “one more year” and then see…and never move. Look at the marathon…too many have this idea that it’s something you do once you’ve become slow at 5/10k on the track…
              One would have hoped Callum Hawkins taking up the event successfully in his early 20s would have changed that mindset in the UK at least.

              Comment


              • #12
                I caught the back of a rugby league match - Salford vs Leeds - where a try was scored by Ash Handley. He intercepted the ball close to his own try line, ran the entire length of the field, full gas, but was hardly out of breath when he tocuhed down. He is 26, 6.2, must be tough as nails to play this game, and I wondered what athletics he ever tried ... [I looked at Po10 but nothing obvious to link to him]

                Sure, he might be quite happy being a professional sportsman in a game he has a true passion for, but my point is, and this is not a revelation as most on this forum would already be thinking the same, there are hundreds of similar lads who dont quite make the grade, but what do UK Athletics do to engage with such a potential cohort?

                I know this issue is highly exacerbated in the US, with all sorts of competing sports for the talent pool, but we are not blessed with such a large population, so we should be doing much more proactively to engage those outside the usual junior to senior conveyor.

                I am sure there is young lad, played Rugby League all his life, probably enjoyed the social side of the sport a little too much at Uni' to have realy made the step up to being a professional, now floundering a little in a corporate graduate-scheme, but at 23, regrets not exploring a sporting career, but with a couple of years hard work, is a sub 45 runner, but had never done athletics at school [apart from maybe a throws event at school sports day as he was the biggest lad in the class] ...
                Last edited by carterhatch; 10-08-22, 09:08.

                Comment


                • #13
                  You do get a few of these - Greg Cackett was a sprinter a few years ago who came from football, I believe - I still think exposure at school is the most important thing, to ensure people know what is there.

                  Comment


                  • carterhatch
                    carterhatch commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Nice bit of knowledge, Mysterybrick - I didn't realise he'd been involved in UK bobsleigh [which ironically is why I started this thread] and can't find any info about his football career but, FYI, 'Greg has also enjoyed a successful career in athletics, winning the Surrey County Indoor Track & Field Championships 60m title with a record of 6.69 seconds in February 2016.'

                • #14
                  Didn't George Mills, son of former England international football, Danny Mills, try his hand at football too as a teenager, before turning his full attention to athletics? We certainly need more talent identification from other sports, as well as doing a better job of talent retention within athletics itself too.

                  Comment


                  • trickstat
                    trickstat commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yes, I think he decided to focus on athletics at about 16.

                    Adam Gemili was a youth player at Dagenham & Redbridge FC when he came 2nd in the English Schools' 100m at 16 and decided to switch sports
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