The application of a multi-dimensional assessment approach to talent identification in Australian football
School of Exercise and Health Sciences
ABSTRACT: This study investigated whether a multi-dimensional assessment could assist with talent identification in junior Australian football (AF). Participants were recruited from an elite under 18 (U18) AF competition and classified into two groups; talent identified (State U18 Academy representatives; n = 42; 17.6 ± 0.4 y) and non-talent identified (non-State U18 Academy representatives; n = 42; 17.4 ± 0.5 y). Both groups completed a multi-dimensional assessment, which consisted of physical (standing height, dynamic vertical jump height and 20 m multistage fitness test), technical (kicking and handballing tests) and perceptual-cognitive (video decision-making task) performance outcome tests. A multivariate analysis of variance tested the main effect of status on the test criterions, whilst a receiver operating characteristic curve assessed the discrimination provided from the full assessment. The talent identified players outperformed their non-talent identified peers in each test (P < 0.05). The receiver operating characteristic curve reflected near perfect discrimination (AUC = 95.4%), correctly classifying 95% and 86% of the talent identified and non-talent identified participants, respectively. When compared to single assessment approaches, this multi-dimensional assessment reflects a more comprehensive means of talent identification in AF. This study further highlights the importance of assessing multi-dimensional performance qualities when identifying talented team sports. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.