‘Why we succeed’ Percepties van professionele voetballers op succesverklarende factoren van talentontwikkeling
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The aim of this study was to obtain insights into the perceptions of Dutch high-level soccerplayers of the success of their own talent development (trajectory); to explore the factors that they consider to affect talent development in a positive and in a negative way. Data for this study was gathered by individual retrospective open interviews with ten young, professional soccerplayers contracted by different pro-league teams (Eredivisie) in the Netherlands. The interviews were based on the model of Van Rossum (1993), which addresses personal, binding and environmental factors as influential in talent development. The result of this study indicates the complexity and multidimensionality of talent development. Respondents‘ explanations of a successful development trajectory primarily focused on binding and environmental factors. Personal factors were considered of secondary importance. More specifically, the absolute strength of will and commitment to reach the top, as well as the support of their parents and a personal and positive style of coaching in talent programs, were thought to be key determinants of success. Therefore, it seems desirable that the participating youngster, his mental condition and his educational environment receive more attention in the process of talent development. Further research is needed to acquire a better understanding of this matter.