Chronological versus biological age

Chronological age is the age of a person with regards to years since birth. This is what most people define as age, for example, if a child is 11, it was 11 years since they were born.

Biological age can be thought of as a person’s development based on physiological markers within their body. Biological age considers where the person is on the maturation and development front, while chronological age does not. When biological age is considered, the coach has better information about what type of training might be suited to the player based on their maturation and development status. Biological age however, is very difficult to accurately measure and the equipment and procedures are not available to most coaches. With the limitations of just basing training on chronological age and with biological age difficult to define and assess, the coach is faced with a challenging task. The coach must do the best that they can with the facilities and equipment available to them. A simple way to monitor growth and maturation could be to measure each player’s body mass and height at every training session. This will enable the coach to identify periods of increased growth which would link with maturation and development.

Training age is also a key consideration when looking to design and implement training programmes. Training age refers to how many years’ experience the player has in appropriate and well-designed training (Joyce and Lewindon,2014). It is also important to note the type of training experience. A player with 4 years’ rugby training experience and no formalised strength and conditioning experience is still very much a beginner in terms of strength and conditioning training age.

When designing a physical development training plan for players, the coach should take note of the chronological, biological and training age as best they can, as this will make sure the training plan is as optimal as possible for the children to develop and adapt.