To analyse the development
behaviour of athletes during adolescence
, using a longitudinal design.
Lap times of male short-track speed skaters (140 skaters, 573 race performances) over two or more 1500-m races during Junior World Championships between 2010 and 2018, were analysed. Races were divided into four sections (laps 1-3, 4-7, 8-11 and 12-14). Using MLwiN (p<.05), multilevel prediction models in which repeated measures (level-1) were nested within individual athletes (level-2), were used to analyse the effect of age (15-20), race type (fast, slow) and stage of competition (final, non-final) on absolute section times (AST) and relative section times (RST; percentage of total time spent in a section).
Between the ages of 15 and 20, total race time decreased (-6.99s) and skaters reached lower AST in laps 8-11 (-2.33s) and 12-14 (-3.28s). The RST’s of laps 1-3 (1.42%) and 4-7 (0.66%) increased and laps 8-11 (-0.53%) and 12-14 (-1.54%) decreased with age. Fast races were more evenly paced compared to slow races, with slow races having a predominantly slow first half and fast finish. Athletes in finals were faster (2.29s), specifically in laps 4-7 (0.85s) and laps 8-11 (0.84s).
, short-track speed skaters develop more conservative pacing
behaviour, reserving energy during the start of the race in order to achieve a higher velocity in the final section of the race and a decrease in total race time. Coaches should take into consideration that the pacing
behaviour of young athletes develops during adolescence
, prepare athletes for the differences in velocity distribution between race types and inform them on how to best distribute their efforts over the different stages of competition.