While kids are grouped for sports based on their chronological age, not all kids are the same developmental age.

In the world of sports, a child's developmental age plays a significant role in the ability to perform or execute a number of fundamental movement and sport-specific skills.

It is crucial for coaches, parents, teachers or others in charge of kids’ sports to grasp a good understanding of the difference between a child's chronological age and developmental age.

While kids are grouped for sports based on their chronological age, not all kids are the same developmental age.

In the pre-puberty stages of development, the early-maturers (I like to call them the January babies) will typically dominate their age class in most sports, especially such power sports as soccer, hockey and track and field, where speed and size are major contributors to success.

Until athletes go through their initial growth spurt (boys age 14-16, girls age 13-15), it's virtually impossible to predict who will be successful in the longer term.

A 2013 study, published in the online science journal PLOS ONE, suggests the NHL is guilty of an age bias because it weighs its draft selections more heavily in favour of players born earlier in the year.

The report found 36 per cent of players drafted by NHL teams between 1980 and 2007 were born in the first quarter of those years, compared to 14.5 per cent of draftees who were born in the fourth quarter.

As coaches, if we are to continue to attract and retain young children to sports, we will need to rethink the way we select, promote and develop athletic talent.

There is a need to exercise a lot more patience with kids born later in the year and might be less advanced in their physical development.

Perhaps more focus on skill development during the pre-puberty stage might be the secret, as opposed to the constant praise and promotion the ‘January babies’ receive for their dominance of the game.

Let's aim at keeping those ‘December babies’ inspired and playing for as long as possible, because in the end, they could become the next great one.