No-cut policy best for long-term talent identification.
I am approached on a regular basis by parents of young children who ask me to assess their kids’ talent for sprinting.
Talent identification has become a trendy term for selecting kids who exhibit the potential to compete at the highest level in the future.
For me, identifying which kids are going to excel in the future is nearly impossible.
Prior to the kids reaching their growth spurt, power speed sports like track and field are typically dominated by “early maturers” — meaning the kids who have reached puberty early on will, more often than not, outperform their peers.
Over the years, I have seen a significant number of talented athletes who enjoyed abundant success in their early high school years, disappear from the sport.
The primary reason for this, in my opinion, is lack of work ethic because it all came too easily at a young age.
There is a saying, “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard,” and I have witnessed this over and over again.
I will take passion, work ethic and love of the sport over God-given talent any time!
This is why I dislike tryouts and the idea of cutting kids. The more kids we can keep in the funnel, the greater the odds of finding that gem.
I would advise coaches to apply a “no-cut” policy when possible, while creating a challenging and fun environment where athletes enjoy coming to train and compete.
One of the greatest pleasures for me as a coach is watching those hardworking grinders, who might not have had a lot of success in their early years, shine when it matters most.