One of the function of National Sports Institute of Malaysia (ISN), empowered by the ISN Act 2011, is to collaborate with any government body, higher education institute, sports association or any relevant parties pertaining to identifying potential talent through Talent Identification and Development (TID) initiatives to achieve excellence in sports. As part of this moving forward initiative, ISN sent Mohd Zaid Mohd Ghazali, Head of TID Programme ISN to attend an International course of Youth Development in Sports: Talent Identification and Development (TID) in Sports in the Netherlands from 21st October-1st November 2019.

The international course was held for two (2) weeks headed by Professor Dr.Johan Pion, Head of TID Department in HAN University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands (he is also a Professor at Ghent University, Belgium). The course was assisted by five (5) trainers from HAN University of Applied Sciences. Participants included TID officers, senior lecturers, researchers and sports managers from Europe and South East Asia. This avenue was creating an opportunity for sharing knowledge on TID in sports.

This course exposed participants to become familiar with the theoretical and applied knowledge of talent detection, talent orientation, principles of Talent Identification, intensive training on the use of sport specific test batteries and monitoring tools, understanding talent selection, insights on talent development (sampling and specialization phases), and talent transfer (similarities and differences in skills). The course was delivered through intensive training, live demos and applied experiences. The HAN University of Applied Sciences collaborated with Ghent University, Belgium and also invited a well-known international TID expert/researcher, Prof Jörg Schorer from University of Oldenberg, Germany, thus providing a range of opportunities to explore the latest strategies on TID from a European perspective.

During the talent detection session it was conducted using TID tool/apps (SportKompas: I Do). Participants were involved with data collection using HAN movement test with 100 Dutch school-children (8-12 years). The apps was very helpful during the data collection session and it was time efficient and productive experience (i.e generate instant individual reports). We also were informed on how the Dutch school system directs children into the sports which suits their best interest by using SportKompas: I Like apps (Talent Orientation).

In a nutshell, identifying a promising athlete through ‘TID’ was not a simple process; it is not only tabulate data spreadsheets but requires long term comprehensive planning, effective monitoring and execution. Other than standardized fitness testing, another important factor is motor skills coordination which is to identify ‘better movers’ who may have better potential to excel in the sport. Selecting the right talent by not de-selecting children in the early sampling years is also crucial via applying maturity status/Bio-Banding (focussing on potential  growth not just current performance).Finally, each participant were assigned to prepare an outline of a TID plan for their country and presented on the final day of the course.  The Malaysian proposed plan focussed on the fact that TID is a long term process and it is vital to start with talent detection 16 years before the podium.  It is important to recognized young talent identification is probably made of what they like to do, what they are good at and cluster sports to be learned from the similarities and differences in generic and sports specific skills, to promote their development in the preferred way as well as to transfer them to the most appropriate sport to reduce drop outs. More emphasis on a club driven system, parental involvement, TID research and proper implementation policies program are required. One strong feature of this course was allowing participants to engage with other European and ASEAN participants which could lead to potential collaboration in the future.

Prepared by:
Mohd Zaid Mohd Ghazali,
Head of TID Programme,
Chief Executive Officer’s Office
National Sports Institute of Malaysia

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