carnegieXchange Winter Lecture
Professor Joe Baker from York University, Canada presents Puzzles, Pitfalls and Probabilities in the Pursuit of Sporting Talent. In this presentation, Professor Baker will discuss the evidence for and against talent in sport and highlight a range of issues in the current research landscape that limit our understanding of this phenomenon and sports’ capacity to develop elite performers.
Carnegie School of Sport Winter Lecture
We welcome Professor Joe Baker from the School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University Canada to present Puzzles, pitfalls and probabilities in the pursuit of sporting talent.
'The notion of talent continues to play a critical role in how we think about human achievement and nowhere is this more obvious than in the world of sport. The past few decades have seen a monumental shift in how we deliver sport to youth, perhaps most obvious through the regular reports of increased hours of sport-specific training coupled with the need for early sport specialization. Most contemporary approaches to athlete development are grounded in the early identification of talent (i.e., that talent is something that needs to be identified early so it can be nurtured). Interestingly, despite knowledge of the negative consequences, early identification remains a necessary ‘evil’ for those working in athlete development systems due to resource limitations (e.g., lack of funding to keep everyone in the system). These approaches are based on assumptions that a) talent is real and b) it can be accurately identified early, both of which are fiercely debated in sport science. In this presentation, I will discuss the evidence for and against talent in sport and highlight a range of issues in the current research landscape that limit our understanding of this phenomenon and sports’ capacity to develop elite performers'
Bio: Dr. Joe Baker is Professor and head of the Lifespan Health and Performance Laboratory in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science, at York University, Canada. He has held visiting researcher/professor positions in the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany. His research considers the varying influences on optimal human development, ranging from issues affecting athlete development and skill acquisition to barriers and facilitators of optimal aging. Joe is author/editor of 8 books and more than 200 peer reviewed articles and book chapters. He has also worked with several Canadian high performance sports teams (e.g., Golf Canada, Wheelchair Basketball Canada) and organizations (e.g., Own the Podium, the Canadian Sport Institutes) in their quest for international success.