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PLoS One. 2017 Jan 27;12(1):e0170744. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0170744. eCollection 2017.

Career Performance Trajectories in Track and Field Jumping Events from Youth to Senior Success: The Importance of Learning and Development.

Author information

1
CeRiSM Research Center "Sport, Mountain, and Health", Rovereto, (TN), Italy.
2
Motor Science Research Center, School of Exercise & Sport Sciences, SUISM, Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.
3
School of Exercise & Sport Sciences, SUISM, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.
4
School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Department of Neurological and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.
5
Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy.
6
Aspire Academy, Doha, Qatar.
7
University College London, Department of Computer Science, London, United Kingdom.
8
University of St. Mark & St. John, Plymouth, United Kingdom.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

The idea that early sport success can be detrimental for long-term sport performance is still under debate. Therefore, the aims of this study were to examine the career trajectories of Italian high and long jumpers to provide a better understanding of performance development in jumping events.

METHODS:

The official long-jump and high-jump rankings of the Italian Track and Field Federation were collected from the age of 12 to career termination, for both genders from the year 1994 to 2014. Top-level athletes were identified as those with a percentile of their personal best performance between 97 and 100.

RESULTS:

The age of entering competitions of top-level athletes was not different than the rest of the athletic population, whereas top-level athletes performed their personal best later than the rest of the athletes. Top-level athletes showed an overall higher rate of improvement in performance from the age of 13 to the age of 18 years when compared to all other individuals. Only 10-25% of the top-level adult athletes were top-level at the age of 16. Around 60% of the top-level young at the age of 16 did not maintain the same level of performance in adulthood. Female high-jump represented an exception from this trend since in this group most top-level young become top-level adult athletes.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings suggest that performance before the age of 16 is not a good predictor of adult performance in long and high jump. The annual rate of improvements from 13 to 18 years should be included as a predictor of success rather than performance per se. Coaches should be careful about predicting future success based on performances obtained during youth in jumping events.

PMID:
28129370
PMCID:
PMC5271320
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0170744
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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