“Birthday-Banding” as a Strategy to Moderate the Relative Age Effect: A Case Study Into the England Squash Talent Pathway

Kelly, Adam L. and Jackson, Daniel T. and Taylor, Josh J. and Jeffreys, Mark A. and Turnnidge, Jennifer (2020) “Birthday-Banding” as a Strategy to Moderate the Relative Age Effect: A Case Study Into the England Squash Talent Pathway. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living. ISSN 2624-9367

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The relative age effect (RAE) is almost pervasive throughout youth sports, whereby relatively older athletes are consistently overrepresented compared to their relatively younger peers. Although researchers regularly cite the need for sports programs to incorporate strategies to moderate the RAE, organizational structures often continue to adopt a one-dimensional (bi)annual-age group approach. In an effort to combat this issue, England Squash implemented a “birthday-banding” strategy in its talent pathway, whereby young athletes move up to their next age group on their birthday, with the aim to remove particular selection time points and fixed chronological bandings. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the potential effects of the birthday-banding strategy on birth quarter (BQ) distributions throughout the England Squash talent pathway. Three mixed-gender groups were populated and analyzed: (a) ASPIRE athletes (n = 250), (b) Development and Potential athletes (n = 52), and (c) Senior team and Academy athletes (n = 26). Chi-square analysis and odds ratios were used to test BQ distributions against national norms and between quartiles, respectively. Results reveal no significant difference between BQ distributions within all three groups (P > 0.05). In contrast to most studies examining the RAE within athlete development settings, there appears to be no RAE throughout the England Squash talent pathway. These findings suggest that the birthday-banding strategy may be a useful tool to moderate RAE in youth sports.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.3389/fspor.2020.573890
7 September 2020Accepted
17 November 2020Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: athlete development, talent development, talent identification, skill acquisition, expertise, RAE, youth sport, bio-banding
Subjects: CAH03 - biological and sport sciences > CAH03-02 - sport and exercise sciences > CAH03-02-01 - sport and exercise sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > Centre for Life and Sport Sciences (C-LASS)
Depositing User: Adam Kelly
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2021 15:21
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 11:36
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11476

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