1st Edition

Birth Advantages and Relative Age Effects in Sport Exploring Organizational Structures and Creating Appropriate Settings

    270 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    270 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Relative age effects (RAEs) refer to the participation, selection, and attainment inequalities in the immediate, short-term, and long-term in sports. Indeed, dozens of studies have identified RAEs across male and female sporting contexts. Despite its widespread prevalence, there is a paucity in the empirical research and practical application of strategies specifically designed to moderate RAEs. Thus, the purpose of this book is to situate RAEs in the context of youth sport structures, lay foundational knowledge concerning the mechanisms that underpin RAEs, and offer alternative group banding strategies aimed at moderating RAEs.

    In order to enhance our knowledge on birth advantages and RAEs to create more appropriate settings, key stakeholders, such as coaches, practitioners, administrators, policy makers, and researchers, are required to understand the possible influence of and interaction between birthplace, engagement in activities, ethnicity, genetic profile, parents, socioeconomic status, and relative age. Thus, in addition to RAEs and alternative group banding strategies, Birth Advantages and Relative Age Effects in Sport also examines the role of additional birth advantages and socio-environmental factors that young athletes may experience in organized youth sport.

    Drawing from both empirical research and practical examples, this book comprises three parts: (a) organizational structures, (b) group banding strategies, and (c) socio-environmental factors. Overall, this book broadens our understanding of the methodological, contextual, and practical considerations within organizational structures in sport to create more appropriate settings, and strive to make positive, impactful change to lived youth sport experiences.

    This book will be of vital reading to academics, researchers, and key stakeholders of sports coaching, athlete development, and youth sport, as well as other related disciplines.


    1. Introducing Birth Advantages and Relative Age Effects in Sport

    Adam L. Kelly, Jean Côté, Mark Jeffreys, and Jennifer Turnnidge

    Section 1: Setting the Stage: Conceptual and Methodological Foundations of Organizational Structures

    2. Situating Birth Advantages Within the Youth Sport System

    Jean Côté, Alex Murata, Jennifer Turnnidge, and David J. Hancock

    3. Organizational Structures in Sport: Methodological Considerations

    Jennifer Turnnidge, Emily Wright, and Alysha Matthews

    4. Relative Age Effects in Rugby Union: A Narrative Review

    Adam L. Kelly, Don Barrell, Kate Burke, and Kevin Till

    Section 2: Organizational Structures: Group-banding Strategies in Youth Sport

    5. "Playing-up" in Youth Soccer

    Daniel E. Goldman, Jennifer Turnnidge, Jean Côté, and Adam L. Kelly

    6. Birthday-banding in the England Squash Talent Pathway

    Mark Jeffreys, Jennifer Turnnidge, and Adam L. Kelly

    7. The Average Team Age Method and its Potential to Reduce Relative Age Effects

    Jan Verbeek, Steve Lawrence, Jorg van der Breggen, Adam L. Kelly, and Laura Jonker

    8. Bio-banding in Youth Soccer: Considerations for Researchers and Practitioners

    Chris Thomas, Jon Oliver, and Adam L. Kelly

    Section 3: Creating Appropriate Settings: The Role of Socio-environmental Factors

    9. How Nature and Nurture Conspire to Influence Athletic Success

    Alexander B. T. McAuley, Joseph Baker, and Adam L. Kelly

    10. Relative Access to Wealth and Ethnicity in Professional Cricket

    Tom Brown and Adam L. Kelly

    11. Parents’ Roles in Creating Socio-environmental Birth Advantages for Their Children

    David J. Hancock, Alex Murata, and Jean Côté

    12. Competitive Engineering in the Youth Sport Context: Theory, Practice, and Future Directions

    Alex Murata, Jordan D. Herbison, Jean Côté, Jennifer Turnnidge, and Adam L. Kelly


    13. Organizational Structures: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

    Jennifer Turnnidge and Adam L. Kelly


    Adam L. Kelly, PhD, CSci, is a senior lecturer and course leader for sports coaching and physical education at Birmingham City University. He is a BASES Sport and Exercise Scientist and UEFA A Licenced coach. Broadly, his research interests explore organizational structures in youth sport to better understand the athlete development process and create more appropriate settings.

    Jean Côté, PhD, is a professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen’s University, Canada. He is internationally renowned for his research regarding the developmental and psychosocial factors that affect sport and physical activity performance and participation.

    Mark Jeffreys, MRes, is the Director of Sport and Physical Activity at Birmingham City University. While at the University of Gloucestershire, he developed and led a range of sports coaching courses. He has also been active in developing structures for sports performance and has coached a range of regional and national teams.

    Jennifer Turnnidge, PhD, is a post-doctoral fellow in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen’s University, Canada. Her collection of research explores how coach-athlete and peer relationships can promote positive development in sport. Specifically, she examines how coaches’ leadership behaviours can influence the quality of youth sport experiences.