I found this book by Sebastian Abbot very stimulating, though I wished for a more social-scientific treatment. The focus is on Africa, here is one bit on the more conceptual side:
But focusing on a young player’s technique still tells a scout relatively little about whether the kid will reach the top level, even when the observations are paired with physical measures of speed and agility. A study published in 2016 looked at the results from a battery of five tests conducted by the German soccer federation on over 20,000 of the top Under-12 players in the country. The tests measured speed, agility, dribbling, passing, and shooting. The researchers assessed the utility of the tests in determining how high the kids would progress once they reached the Under-16 to Under-19 level. The study found that players who scored in the 99th percentile or higher in the tests still only had a 6 percent chance of making the youth national team.
So what else might you look to?:
They assessed the game intelligence of players by freezing match footage at different moments and asking players to predict what would happen next or what decision a player on the field should make. Elite players were faster and more accurate in their ability to scan the field, pick up cues from an opponent’s position, and recognize, recall, and predict patterns of play.
Researchers have found that the key ingredient is not how much formal practice or how many official games players had as kids, but how much pickup soccer they played in informal settings like the street or schoolyard.
The implications for economics study and speed chess are obvious. Finally:
Researchers found that athletes have a 25 percent larger attention window than nonathletes.
Is that true for successful CEOs as well? By the way, I hope to blog soon about why human talent is in so many endeavors the truly binding constraint.
This is an interesting Africa book, too.