Relative Age Effect and Academic Timing in American Junior College Baseball

Abstract

Previous research has shown that older athletes within age groupings are often perceived to be more talented simply due to advanced maturity, leading to biased selection in higher levels of sports competition, now commonly termed relative age effect (RAE). This study’s goals were to determine whether (a) RAE influenced the selection of junior college baseball participants and (b) academic timing (Glamser & Marciani, 1992), in which academic status determines age groupings more than strict age guidelines for college sports, influenced the formation of RAE. Participants were 150 junior college baseball players. Our results showed that RAE was only a significant factor, comparing the birth distribution of participants born before and after the midpoint of the participation year, when academic timing was also a factor in determining age groupings. In addition, the birth rate distribution, though not significantly different than expected, was greater only when those participants born during the expected participation year were included. The results of this study indicate that RAE could bear more influence among American student-athletes than was previously reported in that RAE in conjunction with academic timing does influence the selection of collegiate athletes.

Publication
Perceptual and Motor Skills
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