Issues & solutions related to growth and maturation in youth sports
This is a summary of the insights from the research paper "Growth, maturation and youth sports: issues and practical solutions".
How does growth & maturation impact participation in sport and selection decisions of sports teams, and what are possible solutions to mitigate this impact? 🤔
ℹ️ Growth and maturation are closely related to physical qualities such as strength, power, and speed, but also to technical ability.
ℹ️ Additionally, individual differences in biological maturation have been shown to impact psychological constructs that are important drivers of motivated behavior and resiliency in sport, such as self-perceptions of physical competence.
➡️ Growth & maturation influence performance through the hereabove mentioned factors. Consequently, selection into a sports team or talent development program will be influenced. This then influences the participation, development, and retention of youth in sports.
🧠 A good understanding of the growth & maturation of the athletes is key to making informed decisions related to the athlete’s performance. Consistency of data collection is key, and so is communication about these data!
1) Exercise prescription and training load can then be adapted based on the maturity status, especially during the growth spurt. 2) Bio-banding, whereby athletes are matched based on size or maturity status rather than chronological age, can be a solution in training as well but there needs to be a large enough number of athletes.
🧑🤝🧑 Further work is required to implement and embed these best practices in the youth sports system.
➡️ In the Hylyght platform, we have several estimation models to assess the maturity status of young athletes. We collaborate with different clubs & federations to implement bio-banding to improve talent identification & overall athlete development.