When Champions are Born

A 2021 study showed a correlation between professional athletes and being born in the later months of the year. This may be true at the professional level, but what about the high school level? We decided to take our curiosity a step further and ask whether or not your birth month could have pushed you into your chosen extracurriculars. 

According to the authors of the study, Paul Ford and Mark Williams, award-winning athletes are more likely to be born later in the year. 

“The relatively younger athletes in our sample were able to stay in a developmental system that discriminated against them,” Ford and Willams said. “To survive in the system, relatively younger athletes must develop some other performance advantage, which is likely to be a skill and its attributes, such as speed, technique and decision making.”

Each black dot represents an athletics student surveyed at MacArthur High School

Comparing our student-athlete population to the study, there are some similarities such as a spike in births during the fall months (September, October, and November).

Each black dot represents an fine arts student surveyed at MacArthur High School

Fine arts students have a lot more variation going against the study, with students having birthdays every month. Although there is a large spike in February and a dip during September and October.

Although our student population in fine arts and athletics doesn’t exactly follow the study’s theory there are some other things that may apply to the trends seen in our data such as students being held back or skipping grades. Still, it’s safe to conclude that Ford and Williams’s study does not match our student population.

To read more about Ford and Williams’s study click here and here.



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