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Research Reviews

Successful Talent Development in Soccer: The Characteristics of the Environment

Carsten H. Larsen, Dorthee Alfermann, Kristoffer Henriksen, and Mette K. Christenson

The Big Idea

One easy way to understand the big idea of this research study into improved talent development in a sport such as soccer is to use an analogy. When the authors speak as they do of a holistic ecological approach to sporting talent development, it is hard not to think of growing a garden. If we want high yield in our garden we begin with the right seeds; we carefully prepare the soil and add fertiliser; we plant not helter-skelter but with care, all the while removing the weeds and pests; we then tend the garden over time; and with luck and some prayers to Ceres, the Roman god of agriculture, we reap what we sow.

Likewise, if we are developing young players for eventual harvesting, we would do well to create an environment for growth rooted in positive human development principles: respect for one another and for the game; responsible and self-aware attitudes; strong, hardy, tolerant weather-resistant stock; and finding plenty...

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