Research Impact: Children who are born shortly after the cut-off date for age grades are more likely to achieve success in youth sport. We investigated this phenomenon, known as the relative age effect (RAE), in track and field athletics. Examination of a database of 77,571 competition records revealed that RAEs were widespread, but most pronounced during Under 13 competitions; that is, during athletes’ first exposure to formal track and field competition. National governing bodies need to consider what administrative and stakeholder initiatives are necessary to minimise the effects of RAEs on young athletes’ early experiences of competition.
Kearney, P.E., Hayes, P.R. and Nevill, A., 2018. Faster, higher, stronger, older: Relative age effects are most influential during the youngest age grade of track and field athletics in the United Kingdom. Journal of Sports Sciences, pp.17. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2018.1449093