Sport specific talent identification determinants and development of sprinting and long jumping ability among 10-15 year old children from underprivileged communities
As early as 1994, and with transformation in mind, the African National Congress (ANC) identified the development of the previously disadvantaged communities in South Africa as a national priority. In so doing, sport, among others, was used in this strategy as a medium to improve and change the circumstances of people in disadvantaged communities. Sports development in disadvantaged communities is essential, if taken into consideration that without such further support of the sport talent of some of these children, the needs of these talented children cannot be met and their potential will remain undeveloped. Talent identification (TID), which is based on scientific principles and forms the first step in sports development, still is relatively new in South Africa. Historically, coaches used their own knowledge and experience of the characteristics, which should lead to success in sport as well as participation in competitions in order to do TID. To date, very little research has been done on talent identification and development in sprints and long-jump, especially pertaining to young boy and girl athletes, and in particular concerning athletes from disadvantaged communities. The first and second objectives of this study were to implement sport specific athletics development programmes aimed at improving sprinting and long-jump ability and to determine its effect on the abilities and skills of talented 10 to 15 year-old girls and boys with talent for sprints and long-jump. The third and fourth objectives of this study were to establish which kinanthropometric, physical and motor components will play such a role in 10 to 15 year-olds that it can predict performance ability in sprints and long-jump in girls and boys at this age. The "Australian Talent Search" protocol was used to identify general sport talent in the children (66 girls and 62 boys) who were identified for the study. The talented children (19 girls and 21 boys) from the initial group of were then subjected to a sport specific test battery for sprints and long-jump. The maturation level of the boys was determined by means of a maturity questionnaire, based on the 5 Tanner stages. By using the Statistica and SAS computer programmes, independent t-testing, covariance analyses, correlation coefficients, effect sizes, descriptive statistics as well as a stepwise multiple regression analysis were used to analyze the data with regard to the above-mentioned objectives. A p-value smaller than or equal to 0.05 was accepted as significant. From the results of the study it is evident that the development programmes contributed to the improvement of physical and motor abilities and skills important for performance in both sprints and long-jump in girls (n=19) and boys (n=21) respectively. Among the girls, flexibility, explosive power, muscle endurance, reaction time, speed, speed endurance, acceleration and long-jump showed statistically significant improvement, while abdominal muscle strength and stride length showed no improvement. Secondly, it was established that the development programme contributed statistically significantly to an improvement in flexibility, muscle endurance, 0-40 metres speed and long-jump ability in boys. However, some components did not show improvement, among them explosive power, reaction time, speed endurance, acceleration and stride length. A stepwise multiple regression analysis was used to analyze the third and fourth objectives. It indicated that, in respect to the 100 metres sprint, 7 variables, namely long-jump, push-ups to the point of exhaustion, 7-level abdominal strength, 0-5 metres speed, ankle dorsiflexion, body length and age contributed 84.0% to the total variance in girls. As for long-jump, 7 variables, namely 0-100 metres speed, body length, 7-level abdominal strength, push-ups, ankle dorsiflexion, standing long-jump and body mass proved to be the most important contributors to performance in these items with a total contribution of 79% to the total variance. The fourth objective indicated that average anaerobic power output, acceleration and body mass contributed statistically significantly to performance in the 100 metres sprint in boys with a contribution of 86.5% to the total variance. Horizontal jump, age and acceleration contributed statistically significantly to long-jump performance with a contribution of 81 5% to the total variance. It is evident from this study that sport specific development programmes can successfully be implemented on girls and boys at ages 10-15 in order to improve sprinting and long-jump ability, regardless of poverty-stricken circumstances and poor infrastructure. Furthermore, the study brought to light that specific kinanthropometric, physical and motor abilities exist which can be used to predict performance in sprints and long-jump in girls and boys separately at ages 10 to 15.
- Health Sciences