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Study Finds To Become World-Class, Don't Work Too Hard in Junior High

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/sports/news/20110204-OYT1T00513.htm

translated by Brett Larner

"If you want to become a world-class women's marathoner, don't work too hard in junior high school." That is the finding of a study of domestic elite women runners by former Team Toyota Shatai head coach Masahiko Takahashi, 46.

Takahashi sent his survey to 383 athletes and alumni of professional corporate and club teams, including 20 women who made the top 8 in the marathon at the Olympics or World Championships. 90.3% responded. Takahashi compared the responses of those who had made a Japanese national team for the Olympics or World Championships with those who had not. With regard to their training in junior high school he found:
  1. National team members' off-seasons averaged 2.24 months, while those who did not make national teams averaged 0.87 months.
  2. 60% of national team members did morning practice in addition to their main workouts, while 82.3 % of those who did not make national teams doubled.
  3. Those who made national teams' average mileage was 6.68 km per day, while those who did not averaged 8.29 km.
Based on these and other findings, Takahashi concluded that those who became successful international-level athletes tended to have done less training at the junior high school level. Takahashi is studying at Waseda University Graduate School's Institute of Sports and plans to publish the study through the school. His findings will no doubt be of great help to coaches of Japan's junior teams.

Comments

raincityrunner said…
Does this mean that hard training at a young age is detrimental in the long term, or merely that the mediocre (in terms of genetic endowment) tend to overcompensate without success?
Brett Larner said…
Agreed; although the headline and opening quote seem to suggest causation, the study as described only seems to indicate correlation.
Chris said…
It could simply be that people who worked too hard at an early age get mentally burnt out, and lack motivation later.

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