Home Forum Racing, Training & Coaching Track & Field Where Have All the U15 Boys Gone ?

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  • #153031 Reply
    Profile photo of southlondonllad

    England Athletics Indoor Age group Champs.
    Thanks again to VINCO for streaming two full days from EIS Sheffield I was able to watch some excellent performances by many under 20yr,17yr and u15yrs.
    It was a little odd to me at least to see many athletes from Scotland and Wales competing at the English Champs…no doubt there’s a valid reason to allow this.
    What was so noticeable was that in the U15 age groups that the girls turned out in force whereas the u15 boys were very poorly represented. Take for example the 200m. :- 24 girls with heats, semis and final….whereas the boys had a straight final with only 5.

    The number of u15yr boys in each event were as follows (with the girl numbers in brackets):. 60m -31 (50); 60Hurd – 10 (34);200 – 5 (24);800m – 6 (5);
    PV – 5 (6); HJ – 4 (11); SHOT – 2 (9), LJ – 3 (15);.

    Can anyone offer a possible reason for this huge anomaly ?

    #153033 Reply
    Profile photo of Mark E

    It does seem a bit strange.
    We have a lot of U15 boys but very few of them are interested in doing indoor competition. I expect quite a few are competing in other sports and turn to athletics in April/May. We do have a lot competing on the country and they prioritise this over their other sports.
    I think one of the issues is the balance between competition, training and conditioning. There was an article in AW last week about Scott Lincoln and he eloquently describes how his squad prepare themselves to train by working hard on strength and conditioning in the winter. Trying to compete all year round is a dangerous tactic. We have a good group of throwers who are deliberately focussing on training with a view to starting their competition programme in April and peaking for their target events in June and July.

    #153034 Reply
    Profile photo of southlondonllad

    MarkE your suggestion ,on the face of it, looks very plausible, and yes, more boys are distracted with football/rubgy during the winter than girls.
    However, I took a very quick look at last summers England Athletics OUTDOOR championship (under 15yrs) and it looks to me the same is replicated there. ie. many more girl athletes than boy athletes entering higher level T&F competitions. A few examples : 200m – 14 boys (30 girls); 800m – 8 straight final (22 girls , three heats); LJ – 10 (28).

    Could it be that we currently have more female ‘role models’ than men, and its this that is generating a higher number of girls being inspired to compete at National Champs ? eg Jessica , Morgan Lake, Katarina J-T,, and the many excellent senior girl sprinters…….?

    #153036 Reply
    Profile photo of Mark E
    Mark E

    The sport and every club needs its role models and talisman athletes. There is generally a movement for women to do more sport and the conveyor belt of female athletes who have inspired younger generations continues. It was notable with the Paula and Kelly middle distance inspiration and this has continued with Jess and Kat, in particular.

    You are probably correct regarding boys but in summer we have lost out to cricket on some occasions whereas there is virtually nothing of significance for girls to do.

    #153040 Reply
    Profile photo of southlondonllad

    I wish I hadn’t start this topic now. Every time I take a glance at u15yr boys v girls performances its either fantastic news for the girls or a touch concerning for the boys.

    Example :The Hammer. And I cant think of a recent/current ‘role model’ that may possibly have influenced/generated any specific interest..Facts taken from Pof10 Rankings.

    Year 2010 : 193 BOYS threw , with best throw of 62.97m……and only 75 GIRLS with best throw of 46.31
    Year 2015 : 168 BOYS with best throw of 59.87…..and 207 GIRLS with best throw of 57.74.

    The years in between show the gradual decline for Boys and a massive increase in participation/performance by the girls, and overtaking the boys.
    Has cricket numbers greatly increased for u15yrs in recent years ? (This is the one sport I actually dislike and never watch…….and golf )

    #153041 Reply
    Profile photo of Trickstat

    I think as long as there has been National and Regional Indoor Champs for Under 15 Boys and Girls (about 20-25 years or so), the Boys entries have been significantly smaller than the Girls.

    One of the reasons is that many of the most talented boy athletes are currently mainly doing other sports and their abilities will not really get noticed until they take part in local schools’ events in 2 to 3 months time. I suspect the largest number (the majority?), of the small proportion of competitors at the English Schools’ in the summer who are not with clubs are in the Junior Boys (U15) age group.

    In the early teens, boys can develop so quickly that even athletes who have been at a club for a while can produce performances good enough for national champs and English Schools who a year before were a significant way off that level (e.g. my own club has had boys running 200m over 2 seconds faster at 14 than 13). I am pretty sure that there are qualifying standards for the National Indoors, and it is inevitable that far more 13 year old girls will achieve the relevant standards outdoors during the previous summer than will boys.

    #153042 Reply
    Profile photo of southlondonllad

    I think you may have a valid points Trickstat regarding the development of boys and they do tend to turn up more in the early/mid summer (schools) events.

    But there is no doubt in my mind that there’s downward trend is participation for the u15boys and anupwards trend for u15yr girls.

    Another example: Javelin : year 2015. 336 Boys and 491 girls … a huge rise by the girls.

    Perhaps its time for another TV campaign. But rather than “THIS GIRL CAN” (which I thought was excellent) …..we need another ….”BOYS. STOP PLAYING WITH YOUR FINGERS AND THUMBS AND GET BACK TO THE TRACK !”

    #153046 Reply
    Profile photo of Mark E
    Mark E

    Girls Hammer may have been influenced by Sophie Hitchon.

    With the rise of Nick Miller we may so renewed interest from boys.

    #153047 Reply


    It is no co-incidence in my mind that the sport has an almost dominant role in womens sport and a minor role in mens. For example if you look at people who have made the top 3 in sports personality of the year on more than one occasion there are 29 men of whom 5 are athletes, for the women there are 9 women to have made the top 3 on multiple occasions and 6 of them are athletes. If you asked boys which male sports star they would like to be like an athlete may feature, ask girls and I reckon athletics would have a very good chance of being top of the sports.

    #153056 Reply
    Profile photo of southlondonllad

    PIAA you too make valid observations. So it dawned on me that probably Greg Rutherford, he of fanatic achievements and very high profile in the last 4 years would surely have been the perfect role model for boys…..but no. Perhaps he was the one who has inspired more girls ?

    Long Jump: year 2010 Boys 715 and girls 600….then,move forward to Year 2015 and 702 boys and 748 girls to reflect other massive increase and again over taking the boys.

    #153300 Reply
    Profile photo of southlondonllad

    Another successful championship and some excellent results at the England U15 Pentathlon weekend just gone. Looks like the U15 girls 2 day event was as exciting as it could get with the final 800m event deciding the gold,sliver, and bronze medals.

    Number of u15 girls who took part = 48 ….number of u15 boys who took part = 14. …..those blooming poaching Rugby Academies strike again ?


    #153306 Reply



    Browsing through the old posts on this thread it suddenly struck me that he hammer figures fir under 15s may not be what they seem. As far as I recall there was no U15 girls hammer in the NYAL but there is in the NYDL. As such there would be many girls who now have the event a go. Also the PoT stats show an increase in boys from 436 to 458 when you remove the lower performance limit.

    Both of these figures will be impacted by the number of teams in leagues that include hammer. I say that as a former YA league hammer thrower…. Or rather one of many youth steeplechasers who used to cover the B hammer occasionally.

    #157297 Reply



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