I don’t profess to have the secret formula for how to give birth to sporty kids, but I did come across a very interesting hypothesis by author Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘Outliers’ that looks at statistics of successful kids.
He shows that representative teams of athletes are heavily weighted with kids who are born in the first three months of the school year. So in Australia that is January, February and March; however in the Northern hemisphere it is July, August and September.
The reason behind this is that when kids are young and are introduced to their chosen sport, there is a big difference in size, strength, maturity and skills of a kid who is say 6 versus a kid that is almost 7. This difference means the older kids are chosen for representative teams. When they get into those teams they have more coaching and more game time so their skills increase exponentially in comparison to the kids who are just playing on a local team coached by a mum or dad. As they gain more experience the gap between the older kids and younger kids increase and then once they are teenagers and their size difference is no longer that obvious, the older kids already have the superior skills due to the advantages given to them when they were younger.
There are of course talented people whose birthdays fall outside these months, but the majority all have birthdays at the start of the year.
My kids have had their athletics carnivals over the past two weeks and I was interested to see the children who excelled at athletics did seem to be the eldest in their age group.
So the moral of this story is that if you want to have a child that has the potential to be a sporting super star who will earn mega bucks, then you need to have a baby at the start of the school year and be willing to invest a lot of time and energy (and lets face it – money) to nurture their talent.
Just as a footnote, none of my kids are born in these months, so I guess I missed the opportunity to have a child who is a sporting super star!
(Picture courtesy of digitalart, freedigitalphotos.net)