The value of talent

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A chapter from my book (in cooperation with Helle Hedegaard Hein) “Når talent forpligter” (Great talent requires great leadership):

In the Matthew Gospel (the first book of the New Testament) we find one of the first stories about ‘talent’ in the parable of the trusted talents:

An important Lord from a small village was to travel, and therefore he trusted his fortune, which in the days was the currency, talents, to his three servants.

The first servant got five talents and the other servant got two talents. Both invested the money and doubled the value. The first servant then had

ten talents, and the second servant now had four talents. The third servant received only one talent, which he dug into a hole in the ground.

When the Lord returned from his journey, he took account of the servants’ talents. The first two servants explained how they had doubled their amount and for that they received praise from their Lord.

But the third servant summoned his master’s anger over him as he had hid his one talent in a hole in the ground. The Lord called him a lazy and a bad servant because he had no interest in increasing the value of the talent. Then the Lord told last servant to hand his talent over to the first servant who had invested his talents and now had ten.

In the biblical narrative - talent is something valuable. Talent is something you should invest in. Talent commits. However, it is easier said than done. There can be many different strategies of motivation, management and talent development.

Some investments result in a positive outcome, others in a negative outcome, and again others lead to a loss of more or less everything. Therefore, it requires insight to work with talent.

Talent and talent development are in all contexts a complex size and therefore requires the right leadership and management to be handled and developed properly. And talent have no age, so as a leader or coach - we must continuously develop talent.

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Tan Senyuan

I think of football as a type of education. I also think in football, individual skills has two aspects - tricks, and improvisation, tricks being a player’s go-to skills when situations fits. A player’s performance can be a simple add-up of his tricks, and his improvisation. Elkeson, for example, seems to play mostly on improvisation. He reacts and improvises all the time on his next moves. He is very talented, which is why he is effective. Hulk, on the other hand, has very obvious tricks, he can make powerful long shots in front of the goal. So when defenses are down, and he is close to the middle of the court, he go for this trick, he does it smoothly and efficiently. I’m not saying that Hulk doesn’t improvise, but his trick definitely improves his overall performance. I think tricks are CONSOLIDATED EXPERIENCE. And our goal should be adding more tricks to a player’s skill-set. Take W. Lei as an example. He is a very talented player who’s very good at creating opportunities, but every pass he receives is like brand new, he has to improvise on how to take the ball, and how to make the shot, and often that’s how he loses the opportunity. What if he analyses all the similarities in the opportunities he creates, work out a set of four or five skills to tackle most of them, and improvise on the rest? That should largely increase his efficiency. Having more tricks also benefits team play. In a game, we want our players to think, and in SIPG they think a lot. But I believe most of the thinking should be devoted to reading the game, rather than making individual skill choices. The more tricks our players have, the less they will need to think about how to break, cut inside, pass and shoot, the more they can think about tactical decisions like where to run and whether to pass. Hulk probably came up with his tricks himself, but that doesn’t always have to the case. Our players don’t have enough experiences, which is why we should lend them more brain power to consolidate experiences, and form their own tricks. When a player reaches a certain age, forming tricks should be a necessity. I don’t see why F. Huan can’t break most defenders one on one, or why L. Chuangyi can’t dribble like Isco(maybe at a lower level). We all know that Arjen Robben can cut inside like magic, why don’t we have our players learn that? Imagine the star W. Lei could be if he can perform better cut inside. This is where ‘football is a type of education’ comes in. Our players are in good physical condition, they should be able to perform some of these tricks, all they need is a group of good teachers. I believe this is what Ricardo Carvalho is to our players, a good teacher. So why stop there? We like Robben’s cut inside, Buffon’s experience, and Ibrahimovic’s shots, why not invite them to our club for a couple of days, and share their experience in a few tutorials, their tricks can be our players’ tricks. Anyway, just a sincere piece of opinion.

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