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New evidence of relative age effects in “super-elite” sportsmen : A case for the survival and evolution of the fittest. / Jones, Benjamin; Lawrence, Gavin; Hardy, Lewis.

In: Journal of Sports Sciences, Vol. 36, No. 6, 03.2018, p. 697-703.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - New evidence of relative age effects in “super-elite” sportsmen

T2 - Journal of Sports Sciences

AU - Jones, Benjamin

AU - Lawrence, Gavin

AU - Hardy, Lewis

N1 - This research was conducted while the corresponding author was studying for a PhD funded by the England & Wales Cricket Board 2017 Taylor & Francis. This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Taylor & Francis via the DOI in this record.

PY - 2018/3

Y1 - 2018/3

N2 - The relative age effect (RAE) describes an overrepresentation of players born early (Q1) in a selection year and is highly prevalent within youth sport pathways. However, a dearth of research has investigated the RAE at the “super-elite” level. The present research assessed the presence of RAE in super-elite performers. Study 1 investigated RAEs in the world’s best international Test cricketers (N = 262) over a 20-year period according to a robust and stringent “super-elite” criteria. Results revealed the RAE (Q1) when all disciplines were combined. Upon closer examination, this effect was also observed for the batting and spin bowling disciplines, whereas no RAE was found for the pace bowling discipline. Study 2 investigated RAEs in super-elite rugby union players (N = 691) over a 20 year period. Results revealed the RAE for backs (Q1) and a reversal of the traditional RAE (Q4) for forwards, and when all rugby union positions were combined. These findings provide new evidence of RAEs at the super-elite level and present both inter and intra sports differences. Potential explanations for these findings are explored, owing to the survival and evolution of the fittest concepts, and the implications for future research and applied practice are presented.

AB - The relative age effect (RAE) describes an overrepresentation of players born early (Q1) in a selection year and is highly prevalent within youth sport pathways. However, a dearth of research has investigated the RAE at the “super-elite” level. The present research assessed the presence of RAE in super-elite performers. Study 1 investigated RAEs in the world’s best international Test cricketers (N = 262) over a 20-year period according to a robust and stringent “super-elite” criteria. Results revealed the RAE (Q1) when all disciplines were combined. Upon closer examination, this effect was also observed for the batting and spin bowling disciplines, whereas no RAE was found for the pace bowling discipline. Study 2 investigated RAEs in super-elite rugby union players (N = 691) over a 20 year period. Results revealed the RAE for backs (Q1) and a reversal of the traditional RAE (Q4) for forwards, and when all rugby union positions were combined. These findings provide new evidence of RAEs at the super-elite level and present both inter and intra sports differences. Potential explanations for these findings are explored, owing to the survival and evolution of the fittest concepts, and the implications for future research and applied practice are presented.

KW - Physical Maturation

KW - Cognitive Development

KW - Skill Acquisition

KW - Rocky Road

KW - Resilience

U2 - 10.1080/02640414.2017.1332420

DO - 10.1080/02640414.2017.1332420

M3 - Article

VL - 36

SP - 697

EP - 703

JO - Journal of Sports Sciences

JF - Journal of Sports Sciences

SN - 0264-0414

IS - 6

ER -