Recently the Junior World Track & Field Championships were televised. I watched with great interest. It was interesting to see the wider variation in body types than what you see at the senior level. I couldn’t help but think as I was watching how many of these athletes would go on and be a factor at the senior level. By being a factor, I look at it several ways:
- How many will go on to compete at the senior level?
- How many will achieve personal bests at the senior level?
- How many will achieve a qualifying standard for a senior world championships or Olympic Games?
- How many will make a final at a senior world championships or Olympic Games?
- How many will make it onto the podium at a senior world championships or Olympic Games?
We know from a large body of historical evidence the percentage who achieve those landmarks is quite low. Why is that? There are many reasons. Like a Mary Cain they could be tapped out with nothing left in the tank. They could have been doing senior level training for a long time. For some it is psychological. They are anointed as the next great one and the sheer weight of expectations holds them back. For some it is injuries. For others it is a change in priorities. We do know for sure that it is a huge jump from junior level success to senior success. It is a process with so many variables. This is very much the case in many sports not just athletics.