Skip to main content

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.

Most-Read This Week

Takushoku Teammates Lemeteki and Akasaki Sub-62 For 1-2 at Ageo City Half Marathon

Takushoku University teammates Joseph Razini Lemeteki and Akira Akasaki dominated the 2019 Ageo City Half Marathon, alternating the lead throughout almost the entire race to go 1-2 in school record times.

With invitations to the 2019 United Airlines NYC Half up for grabs to the top two Japanese collegiate finishers in the unofficial intramural tryout for Japan's most prestigious race, the 2020 Hakone Ekiden, things went out very conservatively by Ageo standards at just 3:00/km for the first 2 km. Not content with that, Akasaki, 3rd on his stage at both the Izumo Ekiden in October and the National University Ekiden earlier this month, picked up the race and carried it until 15 km. From 3 km to 8 km Akasaki split 14:33, pace for 1:01:24, condensing the pack behind him down to eight.


After the 10 km turnaround Akasaki's teammate Lemeteki made a bold move to gain contact with the lead group, and when he did it shaved things down to seven serious contenders. The front group stayed …

Japanese Amateur Yamaguchi and Ugandan Kusuro Break Kobe Course Records

Amateur Japanese club runner Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) and Ugandan Geoffrey Kusuro had dominant wins at the 9th running of the Kobe Marathon Sunday, both running PBs and winning by almost 4 minutes in course record time.

Yamaguchi, who ran a PB 2:33:06 in Sydney in September and dropped a surprise 31:58 at last weekend's East Japan Women's Ekiden, slipped away early, never challenged by the pack of invited African elites or by friend and rival club runner Shiho Kaneshige (GRlab Kanto). Going through halfway faster than her half marathon PB in 1:13:08. She slowed slightly in the second half, especially on the large bridge out to the island finish line, but her win was never in doubt as she broke the tape in 2:27:39. Previously, the fastest pure amateur Japanese women's marathon performance was Chihiro Tanaka's 2:29:30 in Nagoya in 2002. Breaking that by almost two minutes, Yamaguchi staked her claim as Japan's best-ever amateur.


2nd through 5th were close together…

800 m High School National Record Holder Clay to Attend Texas A&M

2019 men's 800 m national champion and Soyo H.S. 3rd-year Aaron Tatsunami Clay will enroll in America's Texas A&M University next September, it was learned on Nov. 14. Until then he plans to remain based at Soyo in preparation to go for the win at next year's National Championships and to clear the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifying standard.

The prestigious Texas A&M is where Donovan Brazier (U.S.A.), winner of the gold medal in the men's 800 m at this fall's Doha World Championships, is enrolled. Soyo H.S. head coach Mitsuru Zeniya, 53, who accompanied Clay on a visit to see the university, was supportive of Clay's decision and goals, saying, "He just barely missed the World Championships qualifying standard. If he trains with athletes who are stronger than him he'll grow more."

Last year at the October Niigata Autumn Time Trials meet Clay set a national high school record of 1:47.51 for 800 m. At the National Championships in June this yea…