Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 3rd 2015 Contents unlikely your kid will be
dunking anytime soon.
It s clear, then, that suc-
cess in sports comes from
an amalgamation of elements, most of which are
beyond a parent s control. But given the crazy lengths
so many parents will go to ensure their kids athletic
success, and given how clear the benefits are to con-
ceiving your (hopefully) athlete-to-be at the right
time, it seems like a biological hack worth trying.
So, at the risk of mixing sports metaphors: This
winter, the ball is in your court. Pull the proverbial
goalie and swing for the reproductive fences.
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, February 3, 2015
REGISTRATION & ACCREDITATION
The National Carnival Commission (NCC) advises that registration for all individu-
als/bands/organisations/groups interested in using the Official Parade Route (Port
of Spain) must register with the NCC between January 21 to February 6, 2015.
All forms must be packaged and returned (in person) to the NCC's Head Office,
with the following information at the front:
To: Fleur Simmons - NCC
Parade of the Bands Registration Forms
Junior Band or Senior Band
Bands/Organisations/Groups using the official parade route MUST also register
with the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service @ Office of the Snr. Superintendent,
POS Division, Floor 9, Riverside Plaza, Port of Spain.
ACCREDITATION - LOCAL & FOREIGN MEDIA HOUSES/PERSONNEL
Accreditation for all events MUST be done via the NCC, while licensing done at the
respective Special Interest Groups (SIGs), that is, the Trinbago Unified
Calypsonians' Organisation (TUCO), the National Carnival Bandleaders
Association (NCBA), and Pan Trinbago.
Interested persons are asked to visit the NCC Accreditation Secretariat Office,
Grand Stand, Queen's Park Savannah, between 8 am to 4.30 pm, Monday to
Friday, to collect NCC Accreditation processing forms.
Additionally, all photographers/videographers and freelancers attached to any
parade band/group or sponsor organisation that will be at any NCC event venue,
including the Queens's Park Savannah MUST be accredited by the NCC.
For further information and forms are also available via the NCC's official
website - ncctt.org.
Many parents are obsessed
with having their children be
good at sports---YouTube is
cluttered with videos of insane
mothers screaming from the grandstands at high
school football games and aggressive fathers pum-
meling referees who called one too many hand-
checks on their kid.
There s a reason parents wake up at 4 am to take
their five-year-olds to youth hockey leagues. But what
if there were a way to channel that gusto and give
your kid a leg up by simply partaking in a little bit
of family planning?
A new study published in the International Journal
of Sports Medicine in November suggests there might
be: simply conceive your kid during the second half
of winter. Children conceived at this time of year, the
research suggests, are more physically fit and stronger
than peers born in other months.
The researchers, led by Dr Gavin Sandercock, a clin-
ical physiologist at the University of Essex, tested
nearly 9,000 boys and girls between age ten and 16
on tasks of strength, stamina, and cardiovascular
fitness. Children born in October and November per-
formed significantly better than the other kids. The
study was designed, in part, to test whether birth
month affects athleticism beyond the so-called relative
age effect---given how age groupings are structured
for youth sports leagues, kids born in certain months
will enjoy a calendar-based advantage at certain junc-
tures (more on this in a bit)---and it did, in fact, find
an independent effect.
But why would your birth month, on its own, affect
your athleticism? The researchers think it s because
the mothers of babies born in these months have
greater exposure to Vitamin D as their due date draws
near, thanks to those summer rays. Vitamin D has
been linked to numerous in utero health benefits, and
is thought to be a stimulus for bone and muscle growth,
thus influencing the future athleticism of the unborn
child. "With children born in the Northern Hemisphere,
those born in autumn tend to have slightly bigger
bone and muscle mass," said Sandercock. (It s safe to
say, then, that in the southern hemisphere this biological
advantage will be bestowed on kids born around April
and May, while birth month probably matters less
near the equator.)
In addition to biologically enhancing a child s ath-
leticism, getting pregnant in the spring can help ensure
your kid is the biggest one on the team by taking
advantage of the aforementioned relative age effect.
This is a fancy name for the advantage children gain
by being mere months older than their classmates
owing to how age groupings are determined for youth
leagues---an institutional bias that has been dissected
in every form, from Canadian hockey players in Mal-
colm Gladwell s Outliers to European soccer players
in Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner s SuperFreako-
Because they are more physically mature, coaches
are more likely to notice them, leading to more playing
time and more overall attention---an advantage advan-
tage researchers refer to as the Matthew Effect. These
privileged kids then continue to improve their game
beyond the skills of younger, underdeveloped team-
Once you get to the pros, however, it appears that
things get so competitive that the early advantages of
having the right birth month are washed out, so don t
expect your careful conception schedule to lead to a
major-league contract (in fact, if you re having pre-
conception visions of your kid being a pro athlete,
you might have some other stuff to work through).
There are other big factors, of course, that influence
kids athletic development. Climate can have a profound
Obviously, all these influences will only take you
(or, more specifically, your kid) so far. Kevin Durant
is not an NBA superstar just because he was born in
September: Numerous other factors come into play---
perhaps most importantly, genetics. If the average
height in your family hovers around five-foot-five, it s
In addition to biologically enhancing a child's athleticism, getting pregnant in the
spring can help ensure your kid is the biggest one on the team by taking
advantage of the relative age effect.
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
How to conceive an athlete
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