TAGUM CITY - The need to identify and select talented athletes more effectively and scientifically was underscored at the start of the The Philippine Sports Institute (PSI) Sports Mapping Action Research Talent Identification (Smart ID) Train the Trainers Program at the Davao del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex clubhouse Sunday, February 19.

Sports Mapping Action Research for Talent Technical Experts and Manpower (Smart Team) leader Professor Josephine Reyes, said most sports are striving to find ways of identifying talent more effectively and many children also strive to attain excellence in sports but the question lies on whether these children are exposed to the right sport.

"Baka napilitan lang sila sa sport nila ngayon (Maybe they’re just forced to play the sport they have now) or maybe because the kind of selection is not enough or scientific enough to determine if they are really fit for that particular sport," Reyes told 18 participants from Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region and Soccskargen as well as from Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Caraga Region.

Reyes said talent identification is the process of recognizing current participants with the potential to excel in particular sport and that previous involvement in sport is not a pre-requisite.

"Baka andyan lang sa tabi-tabi ang hinahanap natin (Maybe what we’re looking for is just right around the corner). Who knows these are the untapped talents? These are kids we don't know. We will test these kids to see their innate abilities," Reyes added.

She suggested that trainers prioritize testing children aged eight to 12 years old since older kids could already be brought to the talent development pool.

Reyes then showed trainers how to go about the program.

With the help of her Smart Team staff, they performed anthropometric tests like standing height (distance from the floor to the top of the head with the participant barefoot), weight (body weight in kilograms without shoes), arm span (horizontal distance between the tips of the middle fingers with arms spread out at shoulder level) and sitting height (distance from the sitting surface to the top of the person's head), performance tests - vertical jump (maximum height that a person can jump when starting with both feet on the ground and without using arm momentum), medicine ball throw (test which measures the farthest distance that a heavy object could be thrown), agility test - timed running test between two marked points, 40-meter sprint (time required to run 40 meters from a standing start) and 800-meter run (maximum effort endurance run completed in the shortest time possible).

Davao del Norte provincial sports coordinator Giovanni Gulanes, meanwhile, said the province will launch its sports academy in June in line with the direction of grassroots sports development program of the Philippine Sports Commission through the PSI.

Gulanes also said they already developed a software program for data-based gathering on their own talent identifciation, which they are willing to share to the PSI.

A practicum workshop is set on Monday morning, February 20 while Smart ID testing will be conducted to volunteer students of Tagum City in the afternoon as the Train the Trainers Program resumes Monday. (PSI PR)