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Podium. Revista de Ciencia y Tecnología en la Cultura Física

versión On-line ISSN 1996-2452

Rev Podium vol.16 no.3 Pinar del Río sept.-dic. 2021  Epub 01-Sep-2021


Original article

Structuring a selection test for talents in sport

Edwim Olimpo Vinueza Tapia1  *

Helder Guillermo Aldas Arcos2

1Asociación de Entrenadores del Ecuador. Ecuador.

2Universidad de Cuenca, Universidad Católica de Cuenca. Ecuador.


The detection of a possible sports talent constitutes one of the fundamental premises of any sports system. This work aimed at establishing normative parameters for sports selection according to the characteristics of the population and with easily accessible measuring instruments, which allows the best sports prospects to be selected at the beginning of each season. The methods applied are the historical-logical, analytical-synthetic, inductive-deductive, documentary analysis were used as the main research methods and techniques. A survey was applied to 135 coaches to determine the test and statisticians. This research establishes a proposal for a sports selection test based on the study of an age group of 1729 boys and girls from 9 to 12 years old, whose final result is the structuring of a selection test with its respective evaluation scale, based on studies by leading authors, which allows the standard for children to enter sports initiation schools in an ideal way. In this study there are several alternatives to identify aspects to consider in a control test for the evaluation and selection of sports talents, in addition to a critical analysis and after applying the selected techniques and instruments, this test is feasible, based on the results achieved.

Keywords: Selection test; Sports talents.


The selection of talents nowadays has had more opinions in favor than against it. Until the end of the 20th century, most authors have agreed that it was the Eastern European countries that were the most successful in the use of predictive procedures for the performance of athletes. Already in the present, sport activity, in general, acquires greater relevance. This is reflected in its didactic treatment, at first because of the social recognition and then because of the amount of resources that a good result can generate, especially in top level sport, there are several authors who have addressed this issue.

The methods used in sports selection in the modeling of the best athletes at the level of the Olympic cycle, undoubtedly, since the last century, have been studied by authors such as Volkov and Film (1989), Balandin and Plajtienko (1986), Platanov (2011); the first three authors propose a set of essential aspects, in which a complex of subsystems indispensable for the achievement of the result is included. In such a chart, it is common to find represented a relationship of horizontal components and also a series of vertical hierarchies of relationship (Figure 1).

Source: (Balandin V. Bludob and Plajtienko V. 1986) cited by Leiva (2010).

Fig. 1. - Characteristic components of the model 

In the last decade, there were several studies regarding the parameters for the selection of sports talent, one of them is followed by Leiva (2010) who, based on studies by Nikitiuk. B. (1991), Abramova et al., (2003) and Nazatov I. (2000), states that dermatoglyphia is a method used for sports selection since the twentieth century, in order to distinguish and predict the phenotype early, from the results of the genotype as one of the essential aspects for the overall improvement of the quality of life of people; method little used and applied for sports selection. Dermatoglyphics is the study of the fingerprint impressions of the distal phalanges, which are perennial, immutable and infinitely diverse. There are studies of dermatoglyphics such as Fernandez Filho who compared the fingerprint designs of 33 players of the national basketball team of Russia and Brazil, as well as players of teams of the Russian national league of this sport and accumulated a total of 167 players. In the result of this study, it is revealed that Russian and Brazilian players, as they increase the level of sports qualification, the values of D10, SCTL, also increases the number of Whorls (W), but decreases the number of Arches (A) (Table 1).

Table 1. - Fingerprint designs of basketball players of the Russian and Brazilian national teams  

Source: Leiva (2010)

In relation to today's sport, which involves demands of extreme training and preparation processes, which often exceed the functional possibilities, it is necessary to identify the right athletes who can withstand these high demands of preparation and competitions for several years. As Leiva states, dermatoglyphia is one of the methods that could be applied in South America in the future, while he assures that sports quantification can be done through the state of the body complexion, psychological state and physical qualities; to this, it can be added the size projection, also called prediction or projection, so there are ideal somatotypes for each sport discipline.

The process to achieve the selection of sports talent is complex and requires the implementation of strategies, specifically conceived in the stages corresponding to the different levels of sports specialization, where the selection constitutes the process prior to the preparation of each of these stages (Romero, 2005); (Castañeda et al., 2007); (Martin D, Nicolaus J, Ostrowski, Rost K. 2007); (Romero et al., 2014); (Aldas and Gutierrez, 2015); (Vinueza, 2017). For this, the study conducted by Romero (2005) Romero et al., (2014) is assumed as a starting point.

The importance of its application lies in:

  • In the knowledge that is achieved of the degree of correspondence between the aspirations of the athletes and/or coaches and the real possibilities of achieving them.

  • In understanding the characteristics of the subjects themselves who will receive the training loads.

  • In the degree of general maturation of the pupil, depending on the logic of the stage in which he/she has to develop.

Several authors, among them Romero & Takahashi (2004) referring to sport selection, express that it responds to the following basic indicators:

  • Exercise results that have a high correlation with competitive testing.

  • Paces of development of dominant motor capacities.

  • Pace of development of competitive results.

  • Rate of assimilation of the training load.

  • Genetic inheritance

  • The intuition of the coach or trainer.

In general, the authors conducted a literature search on talent selection in sports and were able to verify that there are limitations in terms of normative parameters for sports selection according to the characteristics of the population and with easily accessible measurement instruments (Garzón, 2017; Madrigal & Córdova, 2017; Rodríguez, 2017; García & Madrigal, 2018; González & Velázquez, 2018; Sánchez et al., 2020; Córdova, et al., 2020; Navas & Navarro, 2021).

In correlation to these technical criteria, in Ecuador, a study was carried out to establish the normative parameters of sports selection according to the characteristics of the population and with easily accessible measuring instruments, which allows, at the beginning of each season, to select the best sports prospects.

This analysis leads to the following objective: to establish normative parameters for sports selection according to the characteristics of the population and with easily accessible measuring instruments, which allows, at the beginning of each season, to select the best sports prospects.


Population and selection of the study group

This study was conducted in the first quarter of 2013, with a population of 1729 boys and girls of the main sports of 19 provinces of the Coast, Highlands and Amazon of the Republic of Ecuador. Once the information was tabulated, it was possible to extract a stratified intentional sample of 1234 children aged 9 to 12 years, which is the result of this work (Figure 2).

Fig. 2. - Population for the elaboration of the Sport Selection test  

Research instruments

The main methods used are historical-logical, analytical-synthetic, inductive-deductive, documentary analysis and descriptive statistics.

In addition, three measurement instruments are used for the development of the research:

  1. Determination of the selection test by means of a survey of coaches.

  2. Study of growth trends in children's physical abilities.

  3. Determination of percentiles for measurement.

Instrument #1

A general test is elaborated based on a survey to a population of 135 coaches of different sports, with the purpose of establishing the anthropometric and physical parameters by age, in relation to the quality of the exercises that should conform the measurement instrument (Figure 3).

Fig. 3. - Response of the coaches to the tests to be inserted  

The results reflect that, of the coaches surveyed, 96 %, that is, 131 affirm that the aspects considered in the control test are superlative and sufficient (pertinent); on the other hand, only 4 %, which corresponds to 6 respondents, state that the aspects considered in this test are not enough. This allows us to conceive that most of the coaches agree with the aspects considered in this control test.

Instrument #2

For the conformation of the physical control tests, the study of the growth tendencies of the physical capacities obtained with a group of 200 boys and girls between 9 and 11 years of age is assumed. Table 2 shows the tendency of continuous evolution of motor capacities (Cornejo & Mantenga, 2003) (Table 2).

Table 2. - Trend of growth of physical preparation from one age to another in children from 9 to 11 years old  

Instrument #3

To establish a preliminary mass regulation, in the anthropometric indicators in the research, the percentile values shown in table 3 were considered; the value that each of them has in sport and to detect the population in the ages investigated and that meet those parameters (Romero & Pupo, 2007) and Vinueza (2016) were considered (Table 3).

Table 3.  - Percentiles for talent selection  

Statistical techniques used

The following indicators are used for statistical processing of the results:

  • Mean (X), deviation (S) and coefficient of variation (CV) and the percentile technique, with which the intervals of the norms by age were established.

  • With the values of the Coefficient of Variation, it was possible to characterize the degree of group dispersion.

  • The corresponding intervals were also established to provide feedback for the follow-up of the students for the first and second year of the selection, according to the percentile values 80-90 and above 90, which corresponds to levels III and IV.


The results obtained in this study were analyzed according to the measurement instruments established by the technical team of the National Sports Federation of Ecuador, issued in 2013, methodology that was published by Romero et al., (2014).

The results of the research are:

  1. Composition of the control tests.

  2. Composition of the output tables.

  3. Rules for the selection of potential talented children by sport.

Composition of the control test

According to the studied parameters, the control test is conformed as follows:

  1. Size.

  2. Weight.

  3. Cormic index: 100 (sitting size/standing size), where both sizes are measured in centimeters.

  4. Stroke or wingspan, in centimeters.

  5. Thirty meters thrown with 10 m. of impulse, in seconds.

  6. Long jump without an impulse run in centimeters.

  7. Crunches in 30 seconds, in repetitions.

  8. 30-second prone elbow bends in 30 seconds, in repetitions.

  9. Run (600 m.), in minutes, seconds.

Composition of the output tables

The control test applied for the evaluation of the level of each of the most relevant motor skills for the sport has a value of 50 points, establishing a total of 10 points per indicator and to pass it the applicant must obtain at least 50-70 % of them, equivalent to a minimum of 25-35 points.

For the qualitative evaluation of the control test, the following standards are established:

  • 50-70 percentile: Regular.

  • 71-80 percentile: Good.

  • 81-90 percentile: Very Good.

  • Greater than 90th Percentile: Excellent.

For the evaluation of the state of physical preparation, four levels were determined, each one of them being indicative of possible talent in physical preparation, according to the most relevant motor capacity (Hernández, 2000).

For this purpose, it was agreed that Level I is the lowest and Level IV is the highest, based on the following criteria:

  • Level I: 10-20 points.

  • Level II: 21-35 points.

  • Level III: 36-40 points.

  • Level IV: 41-50 points.

According to this scale, the most suitable athletes to start the practice of sport with medium and high initial qualities are levels III and IV, but this indicator is not absolute, so more parameters can be considered for talent selection, including measurements of height and weight, dermatoglyphia studied in South America by Leiva (2010); in the same line, agree Ranzola (2004); Platanov (2011); Romero & Becali (2014) and Duran, Aldas, Avila, & Heredia (2020) when they propose alternatives such as the assessment of morphological aptitudes, functional qualities, biological maturation, psychological qualities, genetics and/or the creation of a sports talent selection system and its orientation.

In the following values, criteria of De la Paz, (2004) and Romero et al., (2014) are considered and the percentiles used to characterize the anthropometric results related to the length of the levers and height can be observed, which respond to figures associated with the requirements of contemporary sport, where they, in general, become consubstantial indicators with sports performance and considered for this study (Table 4)

Table 4 Percentiles (P) used in the anthropometric values evaluated  

Source: Romero et al., (2014).

In table 4, the exposed data are revealed, the percentile values are reflected already transferred to the measurements by ranges that will allow technicians to make the preliminary selection of potential talents; this reference is valid, when assessing the general anthropometric aptitudes, it will allow to have a normative indicator that allows you to make a proper selection, for which you need a scale and a tape measure (Forteza, 2005) (Romero et al., 2014).

Table 5. - Anthropometric indicators assessed  

Edited from: (Romero et al., 2014)

Table 5 establishes the normative parameters that the talents must meet to start the sport practice, considering it as an important reference for the coach at the moment of the sport selection (Tabe 5).

Table 6. - Standards for general screening 9-10 years old female  

Table 7.  - General screening norms 9-10 years old male  

Table 6 and 7 reflect the parameters, there is a marked difference in relation to girls; therefore, the coach should pay attention to this aspect that, empirically, it was considered that there was no major difference between the two sexes (Tabla 7).

Table 8. - General screening standards 11-12 years old female  

Table 9. - General screening standards 11-12 years old male  

In Table 8 and 9, the criteria for the detection of talents for late specialization sports, such as Weightlifting, Boxing, Wrestling and others, are established, which admits an adequate recruitment for this type of sport (Table 8) y (Tabe 9).

In summary, the standards for the detection of potential talents are the first step in the selection, as they allow determining the initial level of physical preparation and anthropometric data that a child has and its projection; the main educational centers are a strategic ally for Physical Education teachers and coaches of sports initiation that, by applying them, can evaluate and detect sports talents to project them to sports initiation (Vinueza, 2016).

Standards for the selection of potential talented children by sports

When applying the control test by sport, the anthropometric standards are references for the selectors, although they are not assigned a score because of the variability that may be present at the time of sexual development of each child-adolescent. (Ranzola, 2004). It is important to determine the indicators that demonstrate the quality of talent as reflected in table 10, which allows for proper sports selection (Table 10).

Table 10. - Evaluation scale for the detection of possible talents in sport  

Table 10 reveals that the applicants with evaluations of Excellent and Very Good reflect great potential for the practice of the sport, but without discarding the inclusion of those evaluated as Good, who in the end may turn out to be great talents depending on the variants and exceptions that occur in the sport, which may be the result of a delayed sexual development, but who in the end turn out to be potential talents.


In conclusion, the study reveals that there are several alternatives to identify aspects to consider in a control test to evaluate and select sports talents. Moreover, in a critical analysis and after applying the selected techniques and instruments, this control test can be proposed, based on the results achieved.

The authors of this work are aware that the results obtained will solve in part the problems that may arise in the selection of sports talent in different disciplines, but in itself will contribute positively in the process of sports selection.

The standards extracted from the research on 1234 girls and boys aged 9 to 12 years set the basis for the selection process in various sports that, over time, can be improved and refined, suggesting to all interested parties to offer their indications and recommendations for improvement.


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Received: April 21, 2020; Accepted: July 10, 2021

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