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J Sports Sci. 2017 Apr;35(8):806-811. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2016.1192669. Epub 2016 Jun 7.

Predictive models reduce talent development costs in female gymnastics.

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a Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences , Department of Movement and Sports Sciences , Gent , Belgium.
b Institute of Sport Science , Bayreuth University , Bayreuth , Germany.
c College of P.E and Sports , Beijing Normal University , Beijing , China.


This retrospective study focuses on the comparison of different predictive models based on the results of a talent identification test battery for female gymnasts. We studied to what extent these models have the potential to optimise selection procedures, and at the same time reduce talent development costs in female artistic gymnastics. The dropout rate of 243 female elite gymnasts was investigated, 5 years past talent selection, using linear (discriminant analysis) and non-linear predictive models (Kohonen feature maps and multilayer perceptron). The coaches classified 51.9% of the participants correct. Discriminant analysis improved the correct classification to 71.6% while the non-linear technique of Kohonen feature maps reached 73.7% correctness. Application of the multilayer perceptron even classified 79.8% of the gymnasts correctly. The combination of different predictive models for talent selection can avoid deselection of high-potential female gymnasts. The selection procedure based upon the different statistical analyses results in decrease of 33.3% of cost because the pool of selected athletes can be reduced to 92 instead of 138 gymnasts (as selected by the coaches). Reduction of the costs allows the limited resources to be fully invested in the high-potential athletes.


Artistic gymnastics; Kohonen Feature Maps; artificial neural networks; dropout; multilayer perceptron; talent identification

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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