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AIS to help sports develop future Olympians and Paralympians

25 October 2023

An AIS project aimed at utilising growth and maturation tracking insights of young athletes will help sports maximise success at the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Many of Australia’s 2032 Olympian and Paralympians are yet to hit puberty, a factor the AIS is helping sports to understand and make the most of through its Age and Stage Development project.

As part of Australia’s 2032+ High Performance Sport Strategy, the inaugural AIS Age and Stage Development Workshop was held earlier this year in Melbourne and served as a pilot for the program.

The pilot saw High Performance Pathway Leads and Coaches from Diving, Surfing, Football and Water Polo Australia gather in Melbourne to learn about the impact of growth and maturation on adolescent athletes’ performances.

Working with the University of Sydney, attendees received valuable insights into Swimming Australia’s H2Gr0w project – an AIS Pathways funded research project tracking the growth and maturation of developing swimmers.

Diving Australia Performance Support Manager Sally Anderson attended the pilot and said it was a success.

“Even though we are completely different sports, we will be able to take the learnings we have gained from Swimming, apply them to diving and improve the lives and performances of our young athletes.”

Group of people stand in semi-circle listening to speaker.
High Performance Pathway Leads and Coaches attended the first AIS Age and Stage Development Workshop held in Melbourne.

Building on the pilot’s success, the AIS will facilitate the second iteration of the Age and Stage Development Workshop at an upcoming Performance Pathways development day.

The second Workshop will include representatives from almost every national sporting organisation (NSO) and will focus on those sports with a high probability of 18–21-year-old athletes being medallists in Brisbane 2032.

“In 2023, young athletes aged 9-12 years who aspire to compete in Brisbane are mostly pre their adolescent growth spurt,” AIS Performance Pathway Athlete Development Consultant Dr. Graham Turner said.

“NSOs have an opportunity to track growth and maturation leading into and through the period of peak height velocity and use these insights to maximise athlete development for performance at Brisbane 2032.”

Following the late-October workshop, Dr. Turner and his AIS Performance Pathway team will continue to have targeted conversations with NSOs to support sport specific age and stage athlete development interventions.

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