Talent prognosis is simple – what can we learn from decision-making research?


One of the most difficult things in sport seems to be the prediction of future success in young athletes. Sport science has tried to identify predictors for this task in a large variety of areas. Starting with anthropometric data or psychological measures, to technical and tactical skill test, and many more approaches. The idea behind these attempts is to find a formula that might be able to explain most of the variance of later success in young athletes. While the rationale for this approach is understandable, and at first sight logical, decision-making research in the last decades suggests an alternative approach may be more appropriate. Gigerenzer and colleagues have argued for a bounded rationality in decision making and forecasting (Gigerenzer, Todd, & Group, 1999). They suggest that simple heuristics might make us smart, and might be as, or probably more accurate, than all the "talent formulas" that exist. This presentation will discuss both approaches, and present first findings of two studies that seem to support the bounded rationality approach, while not really testing it (Schorer, Rienhoff, Fischer, & Baker, 2017).