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

Boccia, G; Moise, P; Franceschi, A; Trova, F; Panero, D; La Torre, A; Rainoldi, A; ... Cardinale, M; + view all (2017) Career Performance Trajectories in Track and Field Jumping Events from Youth to Senior Success: The Importance of Learning and Development. PLoS ONE , 12 (1) , Article e0170744. 10.1371/journal.pone.0170744. Green open access

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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.

Type: Article
Title: Career Performance Trajectories in Track and Field Jumping Events from Youth to Senior Success: The Importance of Learning and Development
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0170744
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0170744
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright: © 2017 Boccia et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1539133
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