Research Impact: Youth sport is becoming an increasingly serious business, driven by the belief that early success is an indicator of future potential. Within the context of track and field athletics, we have demonstrated that this commonly held belief is inaccurate. Analysis of top 20 ranked senior athletes revealed that only 9-13% had been ranked in the top 20 as under 13s. Examination of the top 20 under 13s revealed that only 13% progressed to achieve a top 20 ranking as under 20s, while 70% were no longer listed on the national rankings. Excelling at youth level in track and field is not a pre-requisite for later success.
Kearney, P.E. and Hayes, P.R., 2018. Excelling at youth level in competitive track and field athletics is not a prerequisite for later success. Journal of sports sciences, pp 1-8 https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2018.1465724
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