Sport is a powerful tool. It has the power to bring people together in a way nothing else can. It can also bring and accentuate division in a way nothing else can. To tap into the power of sport a need exists to include populations that have previously been excluded on the basis of race, gender and socio-economic status.
This study proposed that current sport development programs in marginalised communities in Tshwane utilise a talent identification rather than a skill development approach and posed the question: “Is current sport development for athletes aged 7 to 18 residing in Tshwane based on skill development or talent identification principles?”
In an effort to answer the research question, the researcher provided a distinction between talent identification and skill development. A crucial difference identified related to the time allowed for participants to develop sport skills as well as the allowance for maturation. Talent identification was highlighted as peripheral to sport development as it can almost be seen as a final step in skill development.
The study utilised a qualitative research approach with a non-probability, key informant sample as research participants. The research participants comprised of sport administrators and coaches involved in sport development in Tshwane. Data collected by means of document analysis and semi-structured interviews were transcribed and coded using themes derived from the literature review.
From the analysis and interpretation, the researcher concluded that current sport development initiatives for athletes aged 7 to 18 in Tshwane are indeed based on talent identification principles, and that programs in marginalised communities tend to be short term and high output focused. The study concludes by making recommendations as to how this can be amended and adapted to allow skill development to occur.