THE EFFECT OF RELATIVE AGE ON THE IDENTIFICATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF SPORTS TALENT
The effect of relative age refers to the difference in skills between people who have been grouped for a particular purpose or function based on age.
Almost 25 years ago Paco Seirul·lo advocated the need for adaptation of high training loads with a parallel preparation to improve physical and technical abilities for elite athlete.1 These new stimuli were defined as coadjuvant training.
In a recent publication,2 technical staff members from FC Barcelona, have tried to reorganize the initial Seirul·lo proposition. Apart from the Optimizing Training (OT), which takes care of preparing players to compete, there is an additional preparation that tries to prepare the player to train. That is Coadjuvant Training. (CT). The high demands an athlete is subjected to, make necessary to develop a parallel training which facilitates and contributes to their wellbeing to support loads which will enhance their performance. Limited individualized training of players might be an obstacle to reach the best condition to compete. In this scenario, we are talking about the collective condition and the individual condition in team sports3, or in other words, the collective and individual load, if preferred. A player’s best condition is reached with a continued self-optimization of all systems which configure his or her sports life. Its output is manifested with a continued and uninterrupted improvement of his performance within the team. The best condition in regard to the rest of teammates can only be reached if there is a homogenous individual condition for all team members. It is possible that the individual condition is not the optimal one for all athletes, but it is the necessary one to collaborate individually in a collective game.
For the authors of the article, the CT can be classified into four blocks:
1. Preventive CT: To work on variables which are risky and can make the player get injured.
2. Restoration CT: To optimize the athlete’s recovery after the training sessions and each match.
3. Structural CT: Which relates to the players’ morphological changes (body composition, hypertrophy and metabolism).
4. Specific qualities CT: Players actions such as moving, jumping, tackling, etc. have to always be done at an optimal level.
In order to do this correctly, the work is organized according to the different necessities and demands of a match and competition.4
If we want to be efficient in our training proposals, we have to take into account various principles. The original Seirul·lo principle doesn’t relate to choosing an exercise but rather understanding that an athlete encapsulates a series of hypercomplex structures that are interconnected in an interactive and retroactive way. The coach has to suggest tasks and situations that involve the player and allow them to self-improve in order to have a better understanding of the situation that has to be solved as well as adapting their abilities to this situation. The improvement of training sessions for athletes (CT and OT) is related to the conditions in which the tasks are practised allowing or not athletes to self-improve.4,5 Physical training or technical training doesn’t exist as such, athlete improvement does. It is about trying to stimulate all the athlete’s structures at the same time, but depending which goals we want to achieve, we will preferably give more importance to the cognitive structure, the conditional or the socio-affective structure. As an example, it is not the same to ask a player to do bench press in a certain way (number of kilos, repetitions, pauses, etc.) as well as also asking him to do rebounds with the bar in the middle of the execution or finishing with a flexion-extension of the wrists. The conditional support of the task has been modified by adding a new coordination stimulus. Which is precisely what relates this general bench press exercise to the strength needed by a handball player when he feints, throws unexpectedly a ball or takes a decision in the last second. Trainers have to be experts to analyze and understand the specific motor skills of each sport and know how to stimulate the different structures that conform an athlete, as previously mentioned. We are talking about understanding, for example, how the movement combination or spatial and temporal variations in the execution, alter the coordinative support of the task. How the identification of a stimulus of their own or from the environment, which reflect on self-control and self-assessment, allow working better the cognitive side of tasks. It is about connecting the training proposal to the wishes, motivation or abilities of each athlete. It is also important to not forget that the improvement of each of these athlete structures, influences the other ones. You can’t improve a player’s performance by working their abilities in silos.
Professor Seirul·lo‘s training doesn’t only focus on different method proposals or content, but rather on defining a model that enables the interaction among all the components in the sports activity. That will allow not only to enhance motor skills learning but also to acquire other implicit factors in these individualised and personalised executions. Measuring the performance in any task constitutes only a limited indication of what the subject is actually doing.6
Carlos Lago Peñas
1 Seirul·lo Vargas, F. (1986). Entrenamiento coadyuvante. Apunts. Medicina de l’Esport, 23, 38-41.
2 Gómez, A., Roqueta, E., Tarragó, J. R., Seirul·lo, F., & Cos, F. (2019). Training in Team Sports: Coadjuvant Training in the FCB. Apunts. Educación Física y Deportes, 138, 13-25. doi:10.5672/apunts.2014-0983.es.(2019/4).138.01.
3Seirul·lo Vargas, F. (1998). Preparación física en deportes de equipo. Curso de Postgrado en Preparación Física. La Coruña. Manuscrit inèdit
4 Seirul·lo Vargas, F. (1993). Preparación física aplicada a los deportes de equipo: balonmano. Cuadernos Técnico Pedagógicos de INEF de Galicia nº 7.
5 Seirul-lo Vargas, F. (1976). Hacia una sinergética del entrenamiento. Apunts. Medicina de l’Esport, 13, 93-94.
6 Durand, (M. (1988). El niño y el deporte. Barcelona: Paidós.
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