Aging and the retention of sport expertise

MSL research field: 
Special populations
TitleAging and the retention of sport expertise
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsStarkes, JL, Weir, PL, Singh, P, Hodges, NJ, Kerr, TL
JournalJournal of Sport Psychology

Two studies examining the relationship between age and running times in the 200, 400, 800 and 5,000 meter track events were conducted to determine whether age related decreases in performance are best represented as a linear or quadratic (rapidly increasing) relationship. Study 1 described the career training patterns of 40 male Master athletes who competed at the 1998 Canadian Masters Athletics Association championship. These athletes had trained and competed for over 20 years and continue to train approximately 6.5 hr/wk. Their practices consist primarily of speed, power and endurance training and they continue to perform at relatively high levels. Performance declines in the 200m with age were purely linear. Study 2 plotted the age and performance times in the same events for over 500 competitors around the world. These cross-sectional data showed rapid declines in performance (a quadratic relationship with age) particularly after 60 yr. The increasingly rapid decline in performance seen with age may be significantly moderated by examining longitudinal versus cross-sectional data. The implications for expertise research and "age-grading" of performance are discussed.

Refereed DesignationRefereed
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