Globally, sport plays a significant role and forms part of every modern person’s life, irrespective of race, age, gender or ethnic group. Researchers on this topic increasingly focus on the early identification of talent and the development of the talent to ensure optimal performance. One of the most critical trademarks of human development is die correlation between age and physical ability. The primary reason why people participate in sport is to improve their level of participation and performance. Therefore every effort should be made to obtain a more scientific approach towards optimal sports performance, seeing that it is scientifically proven that it improves the effectiveness of a specific sport with regards to the selection and preparation of individuals and teams. In present time South African sport is still facing the challenge to successfully integrate previously disadvantaged communities and to select teams purely on merit. The use of scientific evaluation criteria in the selection process of teams can make a definite contribution to help solidify the selection principle of merit only. This is due to the fact that scientifically, assessed physical performance can not merely be ignored or overruled in the selection of teams. The primary objective of this study was first of all to establish whether different norms will be needed for different playing positions in netball and if the assessments that are currently used are able to accurately predict the highest level that players will be able to play at. In the second instance, the objective of this study was to try and determine which components should be part of a set of netball specific evaluation criteria. To accomplish this objective research was done to find many different test protocol and to find literature that would verify the protocol. A third objective was to identify the positional qualities that netball players have to comply to, based on the selected evaluation criteria, and to select the best tests to be used for talent identification. In other words what the minimum test requirements would be to accomplish maximum data gathering. The developed protocol consisted of three (3) motor tests, four (4) physical tests and three (3) kinanthropometrical tests. The research group used in this study consisted of 304 senior netball players i.e. players older than 19 years of age. These players were categorized into three groups, namely players competing at club, national and international level. With the presentation of the statistical analysis, percentile ranks were developed and a 100 research candidates per positional group was used; i.e. 300 netball players in total. Furthermore an ANOVA was used to determine whether there were significant differences between the three positional groups. An analysis was done to determine if the evaluation criteria could discriminate between players from different positional groups. The analysis was merely used as a classification method and did not serve to evaluate die significance of differences. The results delivered position-specific norms. A function for predicting the identification of talented and less talented players was also developed. Although the study showed certain limitations, the research can be utilized to further develop scientific talent identification criteria for netball and this will be to the advantage of sports scientists and coaches involved with netball.
Thesis (DPhil (Human Movement Science))--University of Pretoria, 2008.