Excelling at youth level in competitive track and field athletics is not a prerequisite for later success

Phil Hayes, Phil Kearney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Enhancing our understanding of athlete development would be valuable for coaches, parents and administrators to set realistic performance expectations and to advance youth sport policy. To this end, a database of track and field performances was examined. Records of 134,313 performances by athletes aged between 12 and 35 years in sprinting, throwing, jumping and middle distance events were analysed. Results revealed that a minority (Male, 9%; Female, 13%) of top 20 ranked senior athletes were also ranked in the top 20 at Under 13 (U13). These results were supported by the finding that a minority of athletes retained their top 20 ranking at subsequent age grades (36.3% U13-U15; 23% U13-U17; 13% U13-U20; 43.3% U15-U17; 22.1% U15-U20; 41.8% U17-U20). By U20, less than 30% of athletes who had been ranked in the top 20 at U13 were still listed on the national rankings. Examining a broader sample of athletes revealed weak to moderate correlations between performances at different age grades until at least Under 17-Under 20. These findings reinforce the message that excelling at youth level in competitive athletics is not a prerequisite for senior success.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2502-2509
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Volume36
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2018

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Excelling at youth level in competitive track and field athletics is not a prerequisite for later success'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this