Assets and modes of identification and development of talented student-athletes in selected sport disciplines in Kenyan Universities
A major factor that influences all performers in their sporting careers is the quality and appropriateness of the sport talent identification and development environment. The purpose of this study was to assess assets and modes of talent identification and development in selected sport disciplines in Kenyan universities. The research design used in this study was descriptive survey. The target populations for the study were student-athletes and games tutors in the seven public universities established by Acts of Parliament and fourteen chartered private universities in Kenya. The target respondents included; 210 basketball players, 252 volleyball players and 504 track and field athletes, comprising of both male and female student-athletes. Therefore, the total target population was 966 student-athletes and 42 games tutors. Simple random sampling technique was used to select a sample of 4 (57%) public and 7 (50%) private universities. Talent identification and development questionnaires examining assets and modes of talent identification and development in universities in Kenya were used to collect data. Validity of the questionnaire was determined by a field test and review of the instrument. Internal consistency was used to determine the reliability. A value of correlation of 0.923 was considered satisfactory. The data derived from the subjects was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Percentages and frequency of responses to the survey were compiled and presented in frequency tables. The null hypotheses were tested using chi-square. The results of this study indicated that identification of talented student-athletes was based on the observation of the coaches, done during intramural competitions and there was no application of scientific methods in identification process. Additionally, the results revealed that talent identification was hindered by limited financial support, lack of scholarships, absence of talent identification structures and modalities, equipment to facilitate talent identification and knowledgeable coaches on talent identification. In addition to that, the results revealed that there were opportunities for student-athletes to participate in competitions. Furthermore, the results indicated that there were inadequate sport facilities that were not well maintained, equipment, coaches and time for training. Finally, the results of this study indicated that student-athletes were motivated to participate in sport by allowances, passion for the sport, competitive outlets, rewards, sport facilities, desire to improve their performance, gain fitness and trips. These results show that current Kenyan universities environment is inappropriate for talent identification and development of talented student-athletes. For effective identification and development of talented student-athletes to elite level, universities should create programs for identifying and admitting students with potential to become elite athletes in future and provide appropriate environment to nurture them to elite level.