Relative age effect in european professional football: Analysis by position

Juan José Salinero, Benito Pérez, Pablo Burillo, María L. Lesma

Abstract

The relative age effect (RAE) in sport consists in the lower presence of athletes born in the months furthest from the cut off date established by the competitive system, which normally coincides with the last months of the year. The purpose of this study is to assess if there is an RAE in European professional football, where the current cut off age for training in the different categories is based on the calendar year; and its analysis by position on the playing field. The analysis has included all the footballers playing in the league championships in the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France and Spain (N= 2763). The results of our study confirm an RAE in professional football in Italy, France and Spain. When differentiated by playing position there is a different RAE incidence in the five championships analyzed.


Keywords

Relative age; Soccer; Europe; Playing position

References

Barnsley, R. H., Thompson, A. H., y Barnsley, P. E. (1985). Hockey success and birthdate: the relative age effect. CAHPER Journal, 51(8), 23-28.

Barnsley, R. H., Thompson, A. H., y Legault, P. (1992). Family planning: football style. The relative age effect in football. / Planning familial: style de football. L'effect de l'age relatif dans le football. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 27(1), 77-88. https://doi.org/10.1177/101269029202700105

Carling, C., le Gall, F., Reilly, T., y Williams, A. M. (2009). Do anthropometric and fitness characteristics vary according to birth date distribution in elite youth academy soccer players? Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 19(1), 3-9. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0838.2008.00867.x

Cobley, S., Baker, J., Wattie, N., y McKenna, J. (2009). Annual Age-Grouping and Athlete Development. Sports Medicine, 39(3), 235-256. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200939030-00005

Cobley, S., Schorer, J., y Baker, J. (2008). Relative age effects in professional German soccer: A historical analysis. Journal of Sports Sciences, 26(14), 1531-1538. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640410802298250

Dudink, A. (1994). Birth date and sporting success. [10.1038/368592a0]. Nature, 368(6472), 592-592.

Ford, P. R., Webster, A., y Williams, M. A. (2008). Skill acquisition and expertise mediates the relative age effect in sport. Paper presented at the NASPSPA 2008 Conference, Niagara Falls.

García Álvarez, V. D., y Salvadores, J. (2005). El efecto relativo de la edad en el fútbol. Training fútbol, 115, 36-42.

Gil, S. M., Gil, J., Ruiz, F., Irazusta, A., y Irazusta, J. (2007). Physiological and anthropometric characteristics of young soccer players according to their playing position: relevance for the selection process. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 21(2), 438-445. https://doi.org/10.1519/00124278-200705000-00026

Gutierrez, D., Pastor, J. C., González Villora, S., y Contreras, O. (2010). The relative age effect in youth soccer players from Spain. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, 9(2), 190-198.

Helsen, W. F., Hodges, N. J., Van Winckel, J., y Starkes, J. L. (2000). The roles of talent, physical precocity and practice in the development of soccer expertise. / Role du talent, de la precocite physique et de la pratique dans le developpement de l ' expertise en football. Journal of Sports Sciences, 18(9), 727-736. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640410050120104

Helsen, W. F., Starkes, J. L., y Van Winckel, J. (1998). The influence of relative age on success and dropout in male soccer players American Journal of Human Biology, 10(6), 791-798. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1520-6300(1998)10:6<791::AID-AJHB10>3.0.CO;2-1

Helsen, W. F., van Winckel, J., y Williams, A. M. (2005). The relative age effect in youth soccer across Europe. Journal of Sports Sciences, 23(6), 629-636. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640410400021310

Hencken, C., y White, C. (2006). Anthropometric assessment of Premiership soccer players in relation to playing position. European Journal of Sport Science, 6(4), 205-211. https://doi.org/10.1080/17461390601012553

Hirose, N. (2009). Relationships among birth-month distribution, skeletal age and anthropometric characteristics in adolescent elite soccer players. Journal of Sports Sciences, 27(11), 1159-1166. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640410903225145

Lesma, M. L., Pérez González, B., y Salinero, J. J. (2011). El efecto de la edad relativa (RAE) en la liga de fútbol española. Journal of Sport and Health Research, 3(1), 35-46.

Musch, J., y Grondin, S. (2001). Unequal competition as an impediment to personal development: a review of the relative age effect in sport. Developmental Review, 21(2), 147-167. https://doi.org/10.1006/drev.2000.0516

Musch, J., y Hay, R. (1999). The Relative Age Effect in Soccer: Cross-Cultural Evidence for a Systematic Distribution Against Children Born Late in the Competition Year. Sociology of Sport Journal, 16(1), 54-64. https://doi.org/10.1123/ssj.16.1.54

Perez Jiménez, I., y Pain, M. T. G. (2008). Relative age effect in Spanish association football: Its extent and implications for wasted potential. Journal of Sports Sciences, 26(10), 995-1003. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640410801910285

Reilly, T., Bangsbo, J., y Franks, A. (2000). Anthropometric and physiological predispositions for elite soccer. J Sports Sci, 18(9), 669-683. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640410050120050

Rogel, T., Alves, I., França, H., Vilarinho, R., y Madureira, F. (2007). Efeitos da idade relativa na seleçao de talento no futebol. Revista Mackenzie de Educaçao e Esporte, 6(3), 171-178.

Shephard, R. J. (1999). Biology and medicine of soccer: an update. J Sports Sci, 17(10), 757-786. https://doi.org/10.1080/026404199365498

Sherar, L. B., Baxter-Jones, A., Faulkner, R. A., y Russell, K. W. (2007). Do physical maturity and birth date predict talent in male youth ice hockey players? Journal of Sports Sciences, 25(8), 879-886. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640410600908001

Vincent, J., y Glamser, F. D. (2006). Gender differences in the relative age effect among US olympic development program youth soccer players. Journal of Sports Sciences, 24(4), 405-413. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640410500244655




DOI: https://doi.org/10.4100/jhse.2013.84.07