This study explores the practical sense of talent among top-level football coaches in Denmark, and aims to identify specific structures of the coaches' expert knowledge related to talent identification. The theoretical foundation of the study is Pierre Bourdieu's theoretical framework, in particular the concept of practical sense. The data compile from eight biographical, in-depth interviews with Danish national youth team football coaches. The interviews are analyzed through a process of coding and recoding. Thematic cross-case analyses as well as purposeful selected single-case analyses are used to explore the focus area. The results are grouped in three major themes, which characterize core elements of the coaches' practical sense: 1) visual experience and pattern recognition, 2) recognition of individual paths and personal styles, and 3) a model of top-level football coaches' classificatory schemes. Conclusively, the study supports the theory that talent identification in top-level football is strongly connected to the coach's practical sense of the game and taste for football talents. Furthermore, the study points at the importance of being aware of the person "behind" the coach, given that his practical sense will be identifying the future talents.
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The new goal-orientation of research strategies. Nordic Educational Research Association (NERA) - Nordisk förening för pedagogiska forskning (NFPF), 2008