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Growth and Maturation Research

Why do we measure and monitor the growth and maturation of our athletes?

Bath University STV Team Building Saturday 16/01/16 Pictures Sam Farr for Matchtight

The athletic development and physical preparation of young athletes is a complex jigsaw puzzle. Growing up involves the growth, maturation and development of many different systems and body parts and these processes all act over a period of many years until the child reaches full maturity as an adult.

In every individual, these processes differ in terms of their timing and tempo. Key periods occur during adolescence, such as puberty and the period of peak height and peak weight velocity which may affect athletic development.

How do we measure and monitor the growth and maturation of our athletes?

The biological maturity of each athlete is assessed using a method known as the Khamis-Roche method. This will be carried out quarterly in order to measure progress through childhood and adolescence.

This will provide us with:

  • The estimated peak adult height the athlete will reach
  • The athlete’s current height as a percentage of this stature (this can determine where along their development the athlete is)
  • The biological age of the child
  • Determination as to whether the athlete is an early, on-time or late-maturing individual

For Example:

Information Needed Data Produced
Name DOB Dad’s Height (In) Mum’s Height (In) Athlete Height (cm) Athlete Weight (kg) Date of Measurement Peak Adult Height (cm) % Of Peak Adult Height Z Score
Female A 25/07/2000 77 65 173.1 68.5 03/02/2015 174.6 99.2 0.46
Male A 15/08/2000 72 61 165.6 51.7 03/02/2015 177.3 93.4 0.61

An example of the information that each athlete receives quarterly is shown here:

Male A Individual G&M Summary [PDF]

Research

Corinne Yorston, the lead Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Athlete Development programme, is currently carrying out her PhD in growth, maturation and the physical fitness of children and adolescents at the Department of Health within the University of Bath. More information can be found out about the Department of Health and the work Corinne’s supervisor, Dr. Sean Cumming, is doing here:

www.bath.ac.uk/health

 

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