Talent development is at the forefront of research in sport, where female athletes remain underrepresented. With ongoing success and rapid participation growth, there is an opportunity to describe and assess talent development in cricket for female athletes. Research in other sports recommends a holistic approach to talent development, where the connection between individual, task and environmental factors is maintained. A series of semi-structured interviews was conducted to draw from the experiential knowledge of 16 elite female athletes and 7 coaches alongside empirical knowledge regarding player development (individual), training task design and talent development environments. Both players and coaches reported positive early learning experiences, linear career trajectories and early entrance into talent programs, suggesting some early specialisation. Exposure to boy’s/men’s cricket appeared to fast-track skill development in players, and player skill adaptability was considered crucial to expert performance by both cohorts. Training design typically involved functional games-based scenarios, or misaligned task deconstruction in contrast to contemporary skill development practices. Aims for discrete stages of the pathway were ambiguous for both cohorts, potentially limiting the value they provide, and transition between stages appeared fluid to coaches in contrast to the rigidity described by players. Finally, growing professionalism in cricket for female athletes through greater investment, contracts and player support has propagated a skill gap between pathway stages identified by both cohorts, which needs addressing. Closing this skill gap can be achieved by improving coaching practices and support at the amateur levels of cricket to develop the next generation of elite female cricketers.
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 24 Apr 2021|