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    Developmental activities of professional male British rugby-league players versus controls

    Andrew, Matthew ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2007-910X, O’Brien, Ryan W, Ford, Paul R and Causer, Joe ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8939-8769 (2022) Developmental activities of professional male British rugby-league players versus controls. Science and Medicine in Football, 6 (3). pp. 381-388. ISSN 2473-3938

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    Abstract

    Purpose: Many rugby league clubs rely on developing youth athletes into experts in adulthood. One factor that contributes to the attainment of expertise is the activities that athletes engage in across their development. Therefore, the developmental activities of professional male British rugby league players were compared to lesser-skilled players. Methods: Players who had progressed from youth academies to professional status, those who were released from youth academies, and those who had only played recreationally completed the Participation History Questionnaire. Results: During childhood, professional players accumulated significantly greater amounts of play compared to ex-academy and recreational players, as well as greater coach-led practice compared to ex-academy. During early adolescence, this pattern continued, whereas in late adolescence the professional and ex-academy players accumulated significantly greater amounts of coach-led practice compared to their recreational counterparts. Professional players accumulated more hours in rugby league up to 18 years of age compared to ex-academy players, with both groups accumulating more hours than recreational. The number of other sports engaged in was relatively low across development and did not discriminate between performance levels. Conclusion: Findings from this study may inform future practice of talent development systems within rugby league in Britain.

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