Relative Age Effect in Elite Swimmers in U14 Czech Championship



PURPOSE The issue of the Relative Age Effect (RAE) has been studied in the theory of sports for more than 30 years. Most studies concentrate on team sports, while the area of some individual sports like swimming can be considered still underexplored.

METHODS The aim of our study was to verify the RAE in young elite swimmers (n = 198) who participated in Czech Republic U14 Championship (1) in male and female samples (2) according to swimming disciplines and distances (3) and performance (times in individual disciplines) between individual quartiles / semesters of birth. The analysis was performed with the use of adequate statistical (chi-square test, Kruskal-Wallis H test, Mann-Whitney U test) and effect size (effect size w index, eta-square test, effect size r index) tests.

RESULTS The results showed a different intensity of RAE sex-differences (male: w = 0.033; female: w = 0.006). In the division by the swimming disciplines and swimming distances, statistically significant values with large effect size were found in males in 50 m freestyle, 200 m individual medley, 100 m butterfly and 200 m butterfly. However, this did not apply for girls. Analysis of differences in performance showed a significant difference between the dependent variables (sex, distance, discipline) by different independent variables of quartile / semester of birth with large effect size only in cases of male 100 m breaststroke and female 200 m individual medley.

CONCLUSIONS The issue of RAE should be circulated among the coaches working with youth, athletes, sports organizations, but also parents of athletes in order to avoid the termination of actively spent time or drop-outs.

birthdate, performance, sport, swimming, sex, adolescence

Abbott, S., Moulds, K., Salter, J., Romann, M., Edwards, L., & Cobley, S. (2020). Testing the application of corrective adjustment procedures for removal of relative age effects in female youth swimming. Journal of Sports Sciences, 38(10), 1077–1084.

Agricola, A., Zháněl, J., Hubáček, O. (2013). The Relative Age Effect in junior tennis (male). Acta Universitatis Palackianae Olomucensis Gymnica. 43(1), 27–33.

Baker, J., Schorer, J., & Cobley, S. (2010). Relative age effects: An inevitable consequence of elite sport? Sportwissenschaft, 40(1), 26–30.

Baxter-Jones, A. D. G., Helms, P., Maffulli, N., Baines-Preece, J. C., & Preece, M. (1995). Growth and development of Male gymnasts, swimmers, soccer and tennis players: A longitudinal study. Annals of Human Biology, 22(5), 381–394.

Buhre, T., & Tschernij, O. (2018). The impact of relative age on sampling and performance in Swedish age-group swimming system. Sport Journal, October, 1. direct=true&db=jlh&AN=132055052&site=ehost-live

Bezuglov, E., Shvets, E., Lyubushkina, A., Lazarev, A., Valova, Y., Zholinsky, A., & Waskiewicz, Z. (2020). Relative Age Effect in Russian Elite Hockey. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 34(9), 2522-2527.

Bjerke, Ø, Lorås, H., & Vorland Pedersen, A. (2020). Variations in the constituent year effect in Junior World Championship in alpine skiing: A window into relative development effects? PloS one, 15(4), e0231384.

Cobley, S., Abbott, S., Dogramaci, S., Kable, A., Salter, J., Hintermann, M., & Romann, M. (2018). Transient Relative Age Effects across annual age groups in National level Australian Swimming. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 21(8), 839–845.

Cobley, S., Abbott, S., Eisenhuth, J., Salter, J., McGregor, D., & Romann, M. (2019). Removing relative age effects from youth swimming: The development and testing of corrective adjustment procedures. Journal of science and medicine in sport, 22(6), 735-740.

Cobley, S., Baker, J., Wattie, N., & McKenna, J. (2009). Annual age-grouping and athlete development: A meta-analytical review of relative age effects in sport. Sports Medicine, 39(3), 235–256.

Cohen, J. (1988). Statictical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Lawrence Erbaum associates.

Costa, A. M., Marques, M. C., Louro, H., Ferreira, S. S., & Marinho, D. A. (2013). The relative age effect among elite youth competitive swimmers. European Journal of Sport Science, 13(5), 437–444.

Delorme, N., Boiché, J., & Raspaud, M. (2010). Relative age effect in elite sports: Methodological bias or real discrimination? European Journal of Sport Science, 10(2), 91–96.

Dunlap, W. P., Cortina, J. M., Vaslow, J. B., & Burke, M. J. (1996). Meta-analysis of experiments with matched groups or repeated measures designs. Psychological Methods, 1(2), 170–177.

Ferreira, R. M., Coelho, E. F., Morais, A. V. de, Werneck, F. Z., Tucher, G., & Lisboa, A. L. R. (2017). The relative age effect in olympic swimmers. Revista Portuguesa de Ciências Do Desporto, 2017(S2A), 104–114.

Fumarco, L., Gibbs, B. G., Jarvis, J. A., & Rossi, G. (2017). The relative age effect reversal among the National Hockey League elite. PloS one, 12(8), e0182827.

Götze, M., & Hoppe, M. W. (2020). Relative age effect in elite German soccer: Influence of gender and competition level. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 3725.

Lames, M., Augste, C., Dreckmann, Ch., Görsdorf, K., & Schimanski, M. (2008). Der „Relative Age Effect“ (RAE): neue Hausaufgaben für den Sport. Leistungssport, 38(6), 4–9.

Li, Z., Mao, L., Steingröver, C., Wattie, N., Baker, J., Schorer, J., & Helsen, W. F. (2020). Relative age effects in Elite Chinese soccer players: Implications of the ‘one-child’policy. Plos one, 15(2), e0228611.

McGraw, K. O., & Wong, S. P. (1992). A Common Language Effect Size Statistic. Psychological Bulletin, 111(2), 361–365.

Medic, N., Young, B. W., Starkes, J. L., Weir, P. L., & Grove, J. R. (2009). Gender, age, and sport differences in relative age effects among US masters swimming and track and field athletes. Journal of Sports Sciences, 27(14), 1535–1544.

Moreira, J. P. A., Lopes, M. C., Faria, L. O., & Albuquerque, M. R. (2017). Relative age effect and constituent year effect: An analysis of the International Tennis Federation ranking. Journal of Physical Education, 28.

Müller, L., Gonaus, C., Perner, C., Müller, E., & Raschner, C. (2017). Maturity status influences the relative age effect in national top-level youth alpine ski racing and soccer. PloS One, 12(7), e0181810.

Nykodým, J., Bozděch, M., Agricola, A., & Zháněl, J. (2020). The Relative Age Effect, at the Ice Hockey World Championship (IHWC) in Years 2015 - 2017. Journal of Human Kinetics, 75(1), 150–159.

Roberts, S. J., McRobert, A. P., Rudd, J., Enright, K., & Reeves, M. J. (2020). Research in Another un-Examined (RAE) context. A Chronology of 35 Years of Relative Age Effect Research in Soccer: Is it time to move on?. Science and Medicine in Football, 1-9.

Romann, M., Rössler, R., Javet, M., & Faude, O. (2018). Relative age effects in Swiss talent development–a nationwide analysis of all sports. Journal of Sports Sciences, 36(17), 2025-2031.

Smith, K. L., Weir, P. L., Till, K., Romann, M., & Cobley, S. (2018). Relative Age Effects Across and Within Female Sport Contexts: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (1451-1478)). Sports Medicine, 48(8), 1989–1990.

Steidl-Müller, L., Hildebrandt, C., Raschner, C., & Müller, E. (2019). Challenges of talent development in alpine ski racing: a narrative review. Journal of sports sciences, 37(6), 601-612.

Ulbricht, A., Fernandez-Fernandez, J., Mendez-Villanueva, A., & Ferrauti, A. (2015). The relative age effect and physical fitness characteristics in German male tennis players. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 14(3), 634–642.

Wendling, E., & Mills, B. M. (2018). Mitigation of Relative Age Effects Through Targeted Policy Intervention: A Natural Experiment from Professional Tennis. Social Science Quarterly, 99(4), 1496-1509.







PDF views