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Analyses of talent development in sport have identified that skill can be enhanced through early and continued involvement in donor sports which share affordances (opportunities for action) with a performer’s main target sport. Aligning key ideas of the Athletic Skills Model and ecological dynamics theory, we propose how the sport of parkour could provide a representative and adaptive platform for developing athletic skill (e.g. coordination, timing, balance, agility, spatial awareness and muscular strength). We discuss how youth sport development programmes could be (re) designed to include parkour-style activities, in order to develop general athletic skills in affordance-rich environments. It is proposed that team sports development programmes could particularly benefit from parkour- style training since it is exploratory and adaptive nature shapes utilisation of affordances for innovative and autonomous performance by athletes. Early introduction to varied, relevant activities for development of athleticism and skill, in a diversified training programme, would provide impetus for a fundamental shift away from the early specialisation approach favoured by traditional theories of skill acquisition and expertise in sport.
Keywords: Affordances, Athletic development, Athletic Skills Model, Donor sport, Early diversification