What is it about?

Variation in birth dates among children grouped in the same generation is known as relative age and its implications on different developmental outcomes are referred to as relative age effects (RAEs). This study investigates the influence of the RAEs on motor abilities in a sample of adolescent pupils.

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Why is it important?

Available studies have shown that children born in the first quarter of the academic year have better cognitive achievement and motor skill proficiency than younger children born in the final quarter of the academic year. Considering that the aforementioned studies of RAEs mainly covered preadolescent pupils, we hypothesized that RAEs would have a greater impact during adolescence. The results of the present study indicate that significant RAEs exist in physical variables in both boys and girls, hence, all PE teachers should take into account this influence when planning PE lessons in terms of intensity for relatively younger adolescent students (i.e. decrease number of sets, repetitions, running speed, etc.).


To date, few studies have examined RAEs in the motor abilities of adolescent youth in the PE context. In the current study, it has been confirmed the existence of RAEs and, given the size of these effects, there may be a number of implications for PE practice. From an educational point of view, the results suggest that children born earlier in the school year have an advantage in motor abilities as compared to children born in the latter half of the school year.

Dr Aleksandar J Gadzic
Univerzitet Singidunum

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Relative age effects on motor performance of seventh-grade pupils, European Physical Education Review, October 2016, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/1356336x16671696.
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