The process of talent development in sports requires an environment that encourages early identification of inherent sporting potentials in youngsters and provides the necessary support to grow such potentials into refined talents. Across cultures, athletic development is achieved through a synergy between athletes, their coaches, family, school, the community as well as other significant persons and social institutions. Judging by Nigeria’s rankings in global competitive sports, the country is yet to evolve an effective template for successful athletic development process. This study adopted a qualitative approach to examine the process of athletes’ development in Nigeria. Seven elite Nigerian coaches were interviewed. Inductive analysis of the data indicated certain contextual impediments to athletes’ development in Nigeria including organizational and culture specific barriers to talent development, and two drivers of successful development were equally revealed. It was suggested that stakeholders in sport development should collaborate to evolve a template for successful athletes’ development where the entire development environment provides the necessary support for athletic development.
Keywords: Athletes’ development, talent identification, culture specific barriers, drivers of success.
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