The Relative Age Effect in World Junior Tennis Finals: A 5-Year Longitudinal Study



Year of publication 2022
Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Sports Studies

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Description The Relative Age Effect (RAE) is now a well-established phenomenon in research studies, but opinions on its effects in different sports or age categories often differ. The main aim of the present research was to verify the impact of RAE between female junior tennis players in the age category U14 (n = 240). All these female players were participants of international tournaments World Junior Tennis Finals (WJTF) held in Prostejov, Czech Republic in 2012–2016. The secondary aim was to verify the impact of RAE on the order of nomination of female players to each national team (1st, 2nd and 3rd player respectively) and then verify the impact of RAE on the final ranking of the teams in the whole tournament. The third aim of the research was to compare the impact of RAE between junior female tennis players and the world‘s best senior female players according to the WTA Rankings. All junior female tennis players were categorized by date of birth into four quarters: Q1 (January-March); Q2 (April-June); Q3 (July-September); Q4 (October-December). Chi-square test and Effect Size (ES) index w were used for statistical data analysis (using Microsoft Excel and STATISTICA 10 software). Statistically significant RAE was found in each of the years 2012–2016 (p <0.05) for all subgroups, effect size index w ranged between medium and large (0.32–0.63). Statistical significant RAE was found for all female players over the entire five-year period (p <0.01), ES w se was medium (0.44). Statistically significant RAE (p <0.01 and p <0.05, respectively) was found in all cases for nominations of female players to teams (1st, 2nd and 3rd rank), ES ranged between 0.38–0.54 (medium and large, respectively). In all four performance groups of teams (ranked 1st–4th, 5th–8th, 9th–12th, 13th–16th) the impact of RAE was statistically significant (p <0.01 and p <0.05, respectively), ES was 0.43–0.52 (medium and large, respectively). Comparison of RAE between the groups of junior female tennis players (WJTF) and the world‘s best female players (WTA Rankings, TOP 48) showed statistical significant differences (p>0.05), the ES index w was small (0.10). The findings about the existence and impact of RAE in junior tennis should be reflected by tennis coaches: their consideration in practice can contribute to the improvement of the selection and training of young talents.
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