Bio-banding. Is it the answer or just another challenge in RAE? In Player Development Project Magazine Issue #10, Cruyff Football and Ajax consultant Steve Lawrence gave some background to relative age effects, explaining why they occur and identifying the use of cut-off date rules as the causal culprit. Steve is at the forefront of research in this area, and in this follow-up article he explains the concept of bio banding and suggests how to solve the issue of relative age effects.
Concerns about relative age effects (RAE) tend to coalesce into two main areas, firstly to do with participation and secondly to do with talent identification and high performance development.
Participation in sport is almost universally encouraged for children. We know there are significant and diverse benefits, from social inclusion, to reducing obesity, to brain development and the promotion of long-term good health.
So my view of RAE in respect of participation is that it should not serve as a disincentive to participation, and by and large that means that age restriction rules should be seen by children as fair...
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