Participant development in sport and physical activity: The impact of biological maturation

P. Ford, D. Collins, D. Bailey, Á MacNamara, Gemma Pearce, M. Toms

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    25 Citations (Scopus)


    Recent literature sees participation in sport and physical activity as a lifelong continuum. As a consequence, youth sport must be seen as more than just about young athletes achieving elite performance. Accordingly, there is a need to improve our understanding of development in order to help grow and maintain involvement in sport and physical activity since the spectrum of participation is linked on a bio-psycho-social perspective throughout life. Reflecting this need, the paper reviews the evidence underpinning various ‘accepted constructs’ of development such as non-linear biological growth, specialised physical development periods, and the associated acute and chronic training prescription implications. Based on such, the paper identifies a need for academics and practitioners to work more closely to establish an evidence-base related to accelerated and decelerated periods of athletic development during maturation using controlled longitudinal investigations in order to help nurture athletic development and participation pathways from a lifelong perspective to a greater extent.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)515-526
    JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Bibliographical note

    The full text of this item is not available from the repository. Please note Gemma Pearce was working at the University of Birmingham at the time of publication.


    • Athletic performance
    • long-term periodised training
    • windows of opportunity


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