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Maturity has a greater association than relative age with physical performance in English male academy soccer players

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posted on 06.01.2022, 12:37 by John M. Radnor, Jacob Staines, James Bevan, Sean P. Cumming, Adam L. Kelly, Rhodri S. Lloyd, Jon Oliver
This study aimed to: 1) examine differences in physical performance across birth-quartiles and maturity-status, and 2) determine the relationships among relative age, maturation and physical performance in young male soccer players. The sample included 199 males aged between 8.1 and 18.9 years, from two professional soccer academies in the English Football League. Data were collected for height, weight, self-reported biological parent heights, 30 m sprint time and countermovement jump (CMJ) height. Relative age was conveyed as a decimal, while maturity status was determined as the percentage of predicted adult height (PAH). There were no significant differences in any measure between birth quartiles, however early maturers outperformed on-time and later maturers in most performance measures. Pearson-product-moment correlations revealed that maturation was inversely associated with 30 m sprint time in U12 to U16 (r = -0.370 – 0.738; p < 0.05), but only positively associated with CMJ performance in U12 (r = 0.497; p < 0.05). In contrast, relative age was unrelated to sprint performance and only significantly associated with superior CMJ performance in U16. This study indicates that maturity has a greater association with sprint performance than relative age in English male academy soccer players. Practitioners should monitor and assess biological maturation in young soccer players to attempt to control for the influence on physical performance, and avoid biasing selection on absolute performance rather than identifying the most talented player.

History

Published in

Sports

Publisher

MDPI

Acceptance Date

09/12/2021

Publication Date

20/12/2021

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Citation

Radnor, John M., Jacob Staines, James Bevan, Sean P. Cumming, Adam L. Kelly, Rhodri S. Lloyd, and Jon L. Oliver. (2021) 'Maturity has a greater association than relative age with physical performance in English male academy soccer players', Sports 9, no. 12: 171. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9120171

Electronic ISSN

2075-4663

Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

Cardiff Met Authors

John M. Radnor Rhodri S. Lloyd Jon Oliver

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Youth Physical Development

Copyright Holder

© The Authors

Language

en