The Relative Age Effect in Professional Futsal Players

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Carlos Lago-Fuentes, Ezequiel Rey, Alexis Padron-Cabo, Javier Prieto-Troncoso, Javier Garcia-Nunez

The objective of this study was to verify the occurrence and effect size of relative age effect in professional futsal players, by observing how its presence and impact change according to the season, team level and player position. The sample was composed of 1873 professional futsal players who played in the First Division of the Spanish National Futsal League between seasons 2006-2007 and 2014-2015. The players’ birthdates were divided into quarters (Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4). A relative age effect reversal was observed in the professional futsal players for the nine analyzed seasons. A relative age reversal effect was observed in high and medium level teams. Finally, a relative age effect reversal was also found for the goalkeeper and pivot positions. The results could suggest that players that initially experienced maturity disadvantages in major sports, can have a second chance to emerge in professional minor sports (i.e. futsal vs. soccer). However, the underlying mechanisms why a reversal occurs are still unclear, and more studies focusing on the mediators of the effect are needed.
DOI: 10.2478/hukin-2019-0105
Key words
talent development, performance analysis, team level, playing position, team sport

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