England Talent Pathway

The England Talent Pathways are the systems by which prospective national team players are identified, tracked, developed, and selected. They can be represented by this pyramid, in which we have included the different age groups, and some of levels of international competition and oversight and supporting systems involved.

We consider a player as being in the England Pathway if we have identified them as someone with the potential to one day play for England. That does not mean they must have been selected for an England team, or to an England camp. It simply means the player is eligible to play for England, we’re watching their development, and we’ll be considering them for inclusion in upcoming camps and/or teams.

Getting on the Pathway

Both Indoor and Beach follow a similar structure for bringing players into the Pathway based on scouting and coach referrals represented by this diagram:

As the diagram above outlines, to join the Pathway a player must be referred to us by a coach, or we need to see them in competition, at a camp, or some other event. From there the player is assessed. If they appear to have the right characteristics to one day play for England, they will be added to the Pathway.

Note that players can be added to the Pathway anywhere along the pyramid above. We know not everyone is identified early.

Something to keep in mind regarding Pathway inclusion: The younger the athlete, the more we look at their potential over their current capabilities.

Upon selection to the Pathway

When a player is selected to the England Pathway, the following will happen:

  • They will be entered into our athlete management system (AMS).
  • We will inform them and their coach(es) of their selection.
  • They will be provided with the England athlete handbook

From there, we will have a set of ongoing expectations for the player.

  • Use any provided functionality (i.e. the AMS) to keep the national team staff updated on their progress. This includes video, physical assessments, health issues, etc.
  • Make use of the educational content and programming provided to further their athletic and personal development.
  • Take onboard any feedback provided by the coaching and/or medical staff and work with their club/school coach(es) toward continuous improvement in all areas (physical, technical, tactical, mental/emotional).
  • Demonstrate the behaviours and attitudes of someone wishing to represent their nation.

The nature of the Pathway is continuous observation and assessment, not a 1-time determination, as the next section outlines. We want to see ongoing actions and effort toward development. It’s not just about where a player is at one particular moment in time.

Camp and Team Selection

Once a player is on the Pathway, they are subject to selection for England camps and teams. These selections are made on a camp-by-camp and competition-by-competition basis.

The appropriate Technical Director determines the priority for each event. As a result, some camps will have a developmental focus while others will be more about preparation for an upcoming competition. Some competitions will be about achieving the best result, while for others the priority will be seeing what players can do and providing them with growth opportunities.

All selections are therefore based on event priorities and the coaching staff’s assessment of each player’s current performance plus their potential for growth and development.

It is not simply about picking the best players today. We must take a big picture, long-term view.

Thus, it is entirely possible for someone to not be selected for one camp or team, then to be selected for the next. Likewise, inclusion in a camp or team does not automatically mean inclusion in the next. To put it bluntly, players who fail to demonstrate sufficient ongoing progress are likely to be overtaken for camp and team positions by those who do.

Any questions regarding the Talent Pathway can be emailed to talent@volleyballengland.org