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The Flemish Sports Compass: from sports orientation to elite performance prediction

Johan Pion (UGent)
(2015)
Author
Promoter
(UGent) and (UGent)
Organization
Abstract
The road from beginner to sports champion is a long and unpredictable one. Therefore, choosing a sport that fits their individual characteristics is essential for children to keep them involved in sports. The Flemish Sports Compass is a generic test battery designed to advise children in their sports choice. The test battery includes anthropometric, physical and motor performance measurements and it has the special quality that, in addition to talent detection and talent orientation, it also enhances various derivative test batteries for talent identification. The Flemish Sports Compass consists of field tests appliable in both elementary schools children and in Flemish elite sport schools. On the one hand it is possible to discriminate between different performance levels and on the other this test battery has te ability to detect sport-specific characteristics of an individual. First part of this doctoral dissertation consists of two introductory chapters. The first chapter provides an overview of definitions, theoretical talent models and practical talent systems. The second chapter explains the rationale and the design of the Flemish Sports Compass and displays the preliminary studies for designing the Flemish Sports Compass. In the second part of this dissertation, six original studies are reported. The first study highlights the potential of the Flemish Sports Compass for primary school children. In this study the differences between the sport specific profiles are less pronounced than in the second and the third study, which measured respectively the students of the Flemish elite sport schools and promising athletes of different sports federations. The first three studies indicated that the generic test battery can be deployed on beginners (talent detection) as well as elite athletes (talent identification). The fourth study, with increased specificity, indicates that the generic tests of the Flemish Sports Compass also are able to distinguish between medallists in international competitions and subelite volleyball players. The talent characteristics measured by the Flemish Sports Compass are not only good at predicting and identifying elite level, they also predict attrition in sport. In the fifth study, survival analysis was applied. Parallel to the methods used in medical science where examining the outcome of medication on the participants life expectations is the main goal, survival chances of athletes were calculated in our fifth study. The last study indicated the importance of predictive analytics of a generic test battery. It was shown that artificial neural networks reduce the risk of missing gifted athletes, when selecting the high potential athletes and how the cost of talent development can be reduced without losing talents. In the third part of this dissertation results are discussed and critical reflections and recommendations are given. The different studies provide opportunities to develop a specific talent system for a small country. Flanders’ disadvantage is, that it is hard to compete with giant nations such as China, Russia and the United States. However, the disadvantage of being small is an advantage at the same time. Smallness reduces the risk of missing one single talent. A coordinated approach is necessary, because implementing different talent programs in every single sports federation leads to fragmentation of the scarce resources. First steps have been made by starting up the Flemish sports compass project. Cooperation is the key for small countries. Talent detection in primary schools is the first step to be taken. The advantages are various and children learn to make choices, which is beneficial for their autonomy and competence. Children have different reasons for practicing sports. Some are interested in competition some are not and a few believe in their chances to win medals for their country. Whatever the underlying motivation, we assume that children choose their appropriate sport, although it is obvious that also the sport chooses the child, because the sport demands specific characteristics. This doctoral dissertation intends to to formulate a scientifically based proposal for the implementation of the Flemish Sports Compass. Undermentioned you find the detailed report.

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Citation

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Chicago
Pion, Johan. 2015. “The Flemish Sports Compass: From Sports Orientation to Elite Performance Prediction”. Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University. Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
APA
Pion, J. (2015). The Flemish Sports Compass: from sports orientation to elite performance prediction. Ghent University. Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent, Belgium.
Vancouver
1.
Pion J. The Flemish Sports Compass: from sports orientation to elite performance prediction. [Ghent, Belgium]: Ghent University. Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences; 2015.
MLA
Pion, Johan. “The Flemish Sports Compass: From Sports Orientation to Elite Performance Prediction.” 2015 : n. pag. Print.
@phdthesis{6993997,
  abstract     = {The road from beginner to sports champion is a long and unpredictable one. Therefore, choosing a sport that fits their individual characteristics is essential for children to keep them involved in sports. The Flemish Sports Compass is a generic test battery designed to advise children in their sports choice. The test battery includes anthropometric, physical and motor performance measurements and it has the special quality that, in addition to talent detection and talent orientation, it also enhances various derivative test batteries for talent identification. The Flemish Sports Compass consists of field tests appliable in both elementary schools children and in Flemish elite sport schools. On the one hand it is possible to discriminate between different performance levels and on the other this test battery has te ability to detect sport-specific characteristics of an individual.
First part of this doctoral dissertation consists of two introductory chapters. The first chapter provides an overview of definitions, theoretical talent models and practical talent systems. The second chapter explains the rationale and the design of the Flemish Sports Compass and displays the preliminary studies for designing the Flemish Sports Compass.
In the second part of this dissertation, six original studies are reported. The first study highlights the potential of the Flemish Sports Compass for primary school children. In this study the differences between the sport specific profiles are less pronounced than in the second and the third study, which measured respectively the students of the Flemish elite sport schools and promising athletes of different sports federations. The first three studies indicated that the generic test battery can be deployed on beginners (talent detection) as well as elite athletes (talent identification). The fourth study, with increased specificity, indicates that the generic tests of the Flemish Sports Compass also are able to distinguish between medallists in international competitions and subelite volleyball players. The talent characteristics measured by the Flemish Sports Compass are not only good at predicting and identifying elite level, they also predict attrition in sport. In the fifth study, survival analysis was applied. Parallel to the methods used in medical science where examining the outcome of medication on the participants life expectations is the main goal, survival chances of athletes were calculated in our fifth study. The last study indicated the importance of predictive analytics of a generic test battery. It was shown that artificial neural networks reduce the risk of missing gifted athletes, when selecting the high potential athletes and how the cost of talent development can be reduced without losing talents.
In the third part of this dissertation results are discussed and critical reflections and recommendations are given. The different studies provide opportunities to develop a specific talent system for a small country. Flanders{\textquoteright} disadvantage is, that it is hard to compete with giant nations such as China, Russia and the United States. However, the disadvantage of being small is an advantage at the same time. Smallness reduces the risk of missing one single talent. A coordinated approach is necessary, because implementing different talent programs in every single sports federation leads to fragmentation of the scarce resources. First steps have been made by starting up the Flemish sports compass project. Cooperation is the key for small countries. Talent detection in primary schools is the first step to be taken. The advantages are various and children learn to make choices, which is beneficial for their autonomy and competence. Children have different reasons for practicing sports. Some are interested in competition some are not and a few believe in their chances to win medals for their country. Whatever the underlying motivation, we assume that children choose their appropriate sport, although it is obvious that also the sport chooses the child, because the sport demands specific characteristics. This doctoral dissertation intends to to formulate a scientifically based proposal for the implementation of the Flemish Sports Compass. Undermentioned you find the detailed report.},
  author       = {Pion, Johan},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {235},
  publisher    = {Ghent University. Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences},
  school       = {Ghent University},
  title        = {The Flemish Sports Compass: from sports orientation to elite performance prediction},
  year         = {2015},
}