Between 1997 and 2009 the Growth Spurt Study took place in the famous Dutch youth academy system. All 36 professional youth academies participated resulting in a database of more than 10 thousand youth players. For 12 years, every month, the players’ body length and weight was measured. Also, all injuries were recorded, including the nature, cause and seriousness, and the number of training sessions and matches that were missed as a result.

During the webinar, Raymond Verheijen will present a number of shocking findings based on the Growth Spurt Study which caused an ethical discussion in Dutch football.

  • A huge ‘month of birth bias’ with most players being born early in the calendar year and correspondingly only a few players born late in the calendar year.
  • Because of the ‘month of birth bias’ many talented youth players are overlooked by scouts.
  • The ‘month of birth bias’ results in overtraining of younger players within age category.
  • The overtraining of younger players results in irregular growth patterns and injuries.
  • Younger players within an age group become smaller people as they lose 6-10 centimeters during the period from Under 13 to Under 19.

Based on the shocking results of the Growth Spurt Study, Raymond Verheijen will present several solutions for coaches to deal with the growth spurt of youth players and how to avoid growth deficiencies and subsequent injuries. Verheijen will demonstrate how the scouting and training of talented youth players can be optimized.