Will the changes to the competition age group system disadvantage children born later in the year?
We know that any age group system can be seen to create “good and bad” birthdays, however, after thoroughly considering a number of options the LTA believes having a system which is easy to understand is vital to retaining players within the game, so this should be our primary aim.
In addition, we also know that many other factors impact a junior’s success in tennis than just their birthday, including the child’s athletic and technical ability, love for the game and the support from those around him or her.
As part of an extensive review into the competition structure in Britain in 2017-18, it was found the effects of relative age effect (RAE) can increase or decrease depending on certain circumstances:
- RAE is more pronounced in the early years of development (8 - 12). Furthermore, it is most pronounced at the elite level of this developing age group.
- RAE has less impact at the ‘recreational’ level, even within the 8 – 12 range.
- RAE has less direct impact at 16 – 18yrs and in adults, regardless of standard. However, a residual effect likely exists due to the higher impact in earlier years resulting in both ‘forced development’ and player drop-off.