Talent Identification and Development in Rugby Union: A Multidisciplinary Investigation into an English Premiership Club

Dimundo, Francesco (2023) Talent Identification and Development in Rugby Union: A Multidisciplinary Investigation into an English Premiership Club. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

Francesco Dimundo PhD Thesis published_Final version_Submitted Jul 2022_Final Award Mar 2023 .pdf - Accepted Version

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Different methodological approaches have been used to explore the processes of talent identification (TID) and talent development (TD) in rugby union (RU). However, there is currently no investigation that has analysed an academy at an English Premiership RU club using a mixed-method, multidisciplinary approach. The aim of this project was to optimise the TID and TD processes at Worcester Warriors Rugby Football Club following these steps: (a) systematically review the existing literature surrounding the TID and TD systems, (b) explore the factors that differentiated selected and non-selected U15 players, by position, during the initial entry into a professional academy (i.e., U15), (c) analyse a range of multidimensional characteristics that distinguished age-grade players and playing position among a professional academy (U16-21), (d) identify differences among the academy’s ‘top-ten’ and ‘bottom-ten’ players based on the coaches perception of their potential to achieve senior professional status, (e) explore professional players’ and coaches’ perceptions of the TID and TD processes in professional RU, and (f) offer practical implications to coaches and practitioners working in youth RU for identifying and developing players.

Using the ecological dynamics framework as a guiding model, results showed that despite significant differences among playing positions, task, performer, and environmental constraints were the most investigated areas in TID and TD systems in RU literature. Sprint time appeared the most important physical factor that distinguished both selected and non-selected players, as well as the top-ten and bottom-ten potential professional players. In general, players need to develop anthropometric and physical qualities in line with their age and position. It also appeared that relatively older players were significantly overrepresented across all age groups when compared to relatively younger players. Environmental and performer constraints differentiated playing positions, whereas task and environmental constraints discriminated player ranks. Players’ and coaches reported that task, performer, and environmental constraints have a different influence on players’ progression towards the senior professional status. Overall, RU academy policy makers should interpret this work as an attempt to provide an initial framework for coaches and practitioners. Future investigations should consider a mixed-method (i.e., both quantitative and qualitative analysis), longitudinal (e.g., several-year investigation), and multidimensional approach (e.g., using an holistic analysis such as anthropometric, physical, psychological, technical-tactical, socioeconomic, sport background, and relative age) when investigating the talent identification and development processes in RU.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
21 July 2022Submitted
14 March 2023Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: Player selection, Multidisciplinary development, Ecological dynamic theory, Rugby LTAD
Subjects: CAH02 - subjects allied to medicine > CAH02-06 - allied health > CAH02-06-01 - health sciences (non-specific)
CAH03 - biological and sport sciences > CAH03-02 - sport and exercise sciences > CAH03-02-01 - sport and exercise sciences
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Depositing User: Jaycie Carter
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2023 12:50
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2023 12:50
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14725

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