Sports Medicine

, Volume 49, Issue 11, pp 1671–1685 | Cite as

Bio-Banding in Youth Sports: Background, Concept, and Application

  • Robert M. MalinaEmail author
  • Sean P. Cumming
  • Alan D. Rogol
  • Manuel J. Coelho-e-Silva
  • Antonio J. Figueiredo
  • Jan M. Konarski
  • Sławomir M. Kozieł
Review Article


Inter-individual differences in size, maturity status, function, and behavior among youth of the same chronological age (CA) have long been a concern in grouping for sport. Bio-banding is a recent attempt to accommodate maturity-associated variation among youth in sport. The historical basis of the concept of maturity-matching and its relevance to youth sport, and bio-banding as currently applied are reviewed. Maturity matching in sport has often been noted but has not been systematically applied. Bio-banding is a recent iteration of maturity matching for grouping youth athletes into ‘bands’ or groups based on characteristic(s) other than CA. The percentage of predicted young adult height at the time of observation is the estimate of maturity status of choice. Several applications of bio-banding in youth soccer have indicated positive responses from players and coaches. Bio-banding reduces, but does not eliminate, maturity-associated variation. The potential utility of bio-banding for appropriate training loads, injury prevention, and fitness assessment merits closer attention, specifically during the interval of pubertal growth. The currently used height prediction equation requires further evaluation.


Compliance with Ethical Standards


No funding was provided to any of the authors for this review. The research on Portuguese youth soccer players used in several tables was supported in part by Fundação para Ciência e a Tecnologia.

Conflict of interest

Robert Malina, Alan Rogol, Manuel Coelho-e-Silva, Antonio Figueiredo, Jan Konarski, and Sławomir Kozieł declare that they have no conflicts of interest. Sean Cumming has worked in research and consultancy roles with the Premier League, the English Football Association, the Lawn Tennis Association, and British Gymnastics.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Kinesiology and Health EducationUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.Sport, Health and Exercise Science Research Group, Department for HealthUniversity of BathBathUK
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  4. 4.CIDAF (uid/dtp/0423), Faculty of Sport Science and Physical EducationUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  5. 5.Theory of Sports DepartmentUniversity of Physical EducationPoznańPoland
  6. 6.Department of AnthropologyHirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of SciencesWrocławPoland
  7. 7.Bay CityUSA

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