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Relative Age Effect in Swedish Male and Female Tennis Players Born in 1998–2001
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sport Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2922-1993
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sport Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9123-3357
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sport Science.
2018 (English)In: Sports, ISSN 2075-4663, Vol. 6, no 2, p. 1-12, article id 38Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The relative age effect (RAE) has been extensively debated and researched in both popularmedia and academic discourse. This study examined RAE in Swedish tennis players born in1998–2001. The study was conducted in 2015–2016 and includes all ranked Swedish tennis players(n = 1835) registered in the Swedish Tennis Association database from the year 2014. The resultsshow that when the birth dates of the corresponding Swedish population and all the ranked playersare compared, they show a moderate RAE; however, the higher up they are in the ranking system,the greater the RAE becomes. Top 10 players display an average of 64.1% being born in the firsthalf of the year. Some gender differences were also found, with a greater proportion of bothhigher and lower ranked females being born in the first half of the year. In our discussion ofthe findings we raise several issues that need to be addressed to provide more equal opportunitiesfor all junior players regardless of birth date. Resolving ongoing problems associated with RAEin competitive sports such as tennis is important both in term of prolonged participation in thesport and increased performance. Suggestions made in this article include recognising RAE whendesigning the format of competitions/tournaments, not using official rankings until the juniorsget older, addressing RAE in a “gender sensitive” way, and conducting further in-depth studiesin which RAE is understood/examined as being associated with environmental factors. Althoughthese findings show the RAE effect in Swedish tennis players, thus pointing at the need for furtherconsideration in terms of ranking and selection procedures to ensure equal opportunities for playerdevelopment, the study also concludes by reasserting an emphasis on a holistic approach to playerdevelopment in which coaches focus on the developmentally appropriate needs and potential of eachindividual player regardless of their biological age.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Basel: MDPI , 2018. Vol. 6, no 2, p. 1-12, article id 38
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Social Sciences, Sport Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-73585DOI: 10.3390/sports6020038OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-73585DiVA, id: diva2:1200790
Available from: 2018-04-24 Created: 2018-04-24 Last updated: 2018-04-25Bibliographically approved

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Gerdin, GöranHedberg, MarieHageskog, Carl-Axel

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