Responding to increasing performance pressure for the athletes, several countries have set up programmes to support talent identification and talent development. Without support services during talent development, athletes are unlikely to reach their performance potential. The increasing competition between nations, has further spurred the professionalization of talent development programmes. The progression of the athletic career cannot be seen as separate from athletes’ development in other domains, such as the psychological, psychosocial and the academic/vocational level. Talent development as described in Pillar 4 of the SPLISS model is concerned with the national strategies towards the identification of young talents and how talent development is facilitated in the different nations. The majority of Pillar 4 issues need to be analysed on a sport-specific basis as talents are usually recruited from within the existing participation base of a sport.
Most countries attempt to develop systematic structures to identify gifted talented athletes and to promote their development in certain sports. However, forecasting years in advance for the next generation of sport experts is challenging. The aim of past research projects was to explore how junior athletes performed in senior and how senior athletes performed in junior. The aim is to facilitate talent identification and development program by identify a critical age at which athletes should start to perform in international competitions, and to what extent it is reliable to use junior success as a criterion to predict senior success.