Birth Month and Sports

Did you know that the month in which your child is born could impact how successful he'll be on the athletic field? In February of 2010, researchers from the Queensland University of Technology's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation in Australia found that a child's birth date make a big difference in how he plays football, as well as other professional sports.

The Birth Month and Sports Connection

The scientists studying this topic examined the makeup of the Australian Football League (AFL) and determined that more of the players were born early in the year than in the last few months. This has real significance when you look at how children who learn sports are grouped with other children in their same age range. Since the school year in Australia starts in January, this means that the children with birthdays in January, February and March have this competitive edge over those born in October, November and December and as a result, are also apt to be more skilled and perhaps to get more enjoyment from the sport.

Other Benefits

While this advantage starts very early, it seems to carry through later in life to success in the professional sporting arena, too. For instance, the study determined that when it comes to AFL players, a full 33 percent more than average had birthdays in January, while as many as 25 percent fewer were born in December.

These findings, which were included in a book called, "Analysing Seasonal Health Data," also reveals that people with earlier birthdays also do better academically and also have more confidence than peers born later in the year.

An International Trend

This study also confirms the results of similar research attempts done in other countries, which show that the benefits aren't limited to football, either. For instance, a number of efforts have looked at the birth months of professional volleyball, basketball and ice hockey players, too. Again, more of the players were born at the beginning of the year rather than at the end.

Far-Reaching Effects

While being successful at sports is certainly a worthy aspiration, researchers also point out that the significance of the findings on birth month has more far-reaching consequences. This is because people who are good at sports are likely to stay active throughout adulthood and reap the range of associated health benefits. On the flip side, people who aren't successful may give up and as a result, put themselves at risk for numerous health problems.

What You Can Do

Although you can't change your child's birth month, you can at least become aware of the connection between athletic successes and where his age falls within the overall team makeup. If your child is younger and therefore smaller or less coordinated than his older teammates, it may be worth getting him some extra help to keep up with the strongest players.

In addition, if he's really having trouble holding his own on the playing field, you might also see if you can move him to play with kids a year behind, so he'll on the older end of the team instead.

If neither of those options is possible, simply recognizing the differences-along with providing support and encouragement-may go along way toward helping him stick with team sorts and hopefully remain active, both now and throughout adulthood.


Kyoto University School of Science

New York Daily News