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The Impact of the Relative Age Effect and Educational Pathways on Talent ID.

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Presentation on theme: "The Impact of the Relative Age Effect and Educational Pathways on Talent ID."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Impact of the Relative Age Effect and Educational Pathways on Talent ID

2 Relative Age Effect? The Relative Age Effect - the subtle favoring of more physically mature children when children are grouped together by age for sport. - It’s easy to forget who’s the youngest or the oldest in the group - coaches sometimes mistake physical maturity for greater ability. Paula Jardine – University of Bath The Relative Age Effect, or as it is sometimes called the Age Bias Effect, is when elite youth squads tend to be filled by players born in the early part of the selection year Coté - Early exposure to essential resources is critical. The Relative Age Effect

3 In Groups of 4 Have you experienced the RAE in Talent ID in your schools, clubs or Development Squads? Has it a positive/negative influence on long term development? Does it matter in the long run?

4 Relative Age Effects


6 Major League Baseball (American Data) Cote, MacDonald, Baker & Abernethy (2006) JSS

7 Relative Age Effects In Sports Australian Data Abernethy & Farrow (2005) ISSP

8 Facts:  Half the teams in the tournament below had no players at all born in November or December.  The eventual winners of that tournament Mexico had a squad entirely made up of players born between January and July! (67% were born in the first half of the selection year 1988)

9 Facts: It is also timely to point out that as players age the effects of the Relative Age Effect disappear as displayed by fig 1.2 which shows the distribution of birth months for players from the FIFA 2006 World Cup in Germany.

10 Relative Age Implications Older more physically developed players are more likely to be selected & therefore exposed to a high performance environment - Double Advantage Dropout - Younger less developed players aren’t selected & miss out on high performance inputs – Dropout (Barnsley & Thompson 1988; Helsen et al., 1998) Impact on self-perceptions, self-appraisals and motivation – Self-esteem (Barnsley et al., 2004) – School Attendance (Carroll, 1992; Cobley et al., in press)

11 Relative Age Theory Gaelic Relative Elite Age Theory - some Gaelic players may miss out on a spot at the top level. This is simply due to the month that they are born on. Development difference greatest at U14/U16. Even when groupings are limited to 1 year categories, e.g. U15; U16; U17; U18, development differences can be great. In such cases players born in January and December will have almost a year difference in their age. Ulster Elite Squads U16 – 7 times more people born in first 3 months than last 3 3 out of 4 born in first half of the year

12 Age factored performance Taking the elite squad and testing their performance in several areas the result was that the older players outweighed the younger always proving age is a factor. Question: Do we take a short term view of what is rather than what might be???

13 Antrim Football Development Squads

14 Ulster Hurling Development Squads

15 Donegal U-18 Hurling 2010

16 Colaisti Innis Eoghain

17 Omagh CBS Squads 2011

18 St Patrick’s Dungannon Squads 2011

19 Ladies U-15 Elite Camps

20 Tyrone U-21s 2011

21 Senior County Ladies

22 Senior Inter-County Men

23 Discussion Points There can never be a level playing field simply because everyone develops at their own rate and someone will always be younger or less developed than someone else until they reach senior football. A possible compromise is to have a yearly rotation in selection periods and this way at some stage everyone will have a higher relative age. Another possibility is to change the mentality of youth coaches to look more at the technical & mindset aspects rather than physical aspects of a player. This again may prove difficult as in the real world all coaches are judged by their results on the field not on their developmental results(win by Friday approach) Another possibility at representative level is to pick two or bigger squads so that there are more options then to pick players purely with an eye to the future who can be exposed to the different, hopefully improved, standard of coaching. Group players with similar physical attributes

24 Educational Pathways: Discuss Educational pathways taken by senior county players? Is the player with the “lunch box” under their arm a thing of the past? Do players need to attend 3 rd Level Education to progress to senior county? Do the majority of inter-county players follow the traditional route – Devel. Squads, Minor, U-21?

25 Senior Inter-County Players

26 Pathways to Senior County


28 Are our structures delivering? Ulster Minor All-Ireland Titles: None Derry & Tyrone Down & Derry Down & Derry Tyrone x4, Down x2, Derry/Armagh x1

29 Ulster All-Ireland Minor Success

30 The problem with Talent ID

31 References PPT: A Multilevel Analysis of Youth Sport & Coaching – Jean Coté Article: The Relative Age Effect in Youth Soccer Players from Spain – David Gutierrez Del Campo PPT: Birth date, Relative Age & Athlete Development – Joe Baker Article: Relative Age Theory – Paula Jardine PPT: What Studies of Elite Athletes tell us about promoting long-term development – Joe Baker

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