One of these things is not like the other: time to differentiate between relative age and biological maturity selection biases in soccer?

Chris Towlson, Calum MacMaster, James Parr, Sean Cumming

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Abstract

Background: Both maturity and relative age selection biases are entrenched within professional academy soccer programmes. Lay opinion, and that of some scholars, holds that relative age effects exist as a product of advanced biological maturity, that is relatively older players succeed as a consequence of the physical and athletic advantages afforded by earlier maturation. There is, however, a growing body of evidence to suggest that this is not the case, and that relative age and maturation should be considered and treated as independent constructs. Purpose: To avoid a disconnect between contemporary academic evidence and practitioner practice, the aim of this commentary is to provide a discussion of pre-existing and new evidence relating to maturity and relative age selection biases in soccer. It is hoped that this commentary will provide an overview of new insight regarding the differences between the two selection phenomena and enable practitioners who are responsible for the (de)selection of academy soccer players for talent development programmes to make more informed decisions regarding their retention/selection strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-276
JournalScience and Medicine in Football
Volume6
Issue number3
Early online date5 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • maturation
  • peak height velocity
  • relative age effect
  • Soccer
  • talent identification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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