Participation in sports in relation to adolescent growth and development
Puberty is defined by physical growth, development of secondary sexual characteristics, and maturation of psychosocial skills. The initiation and rate of progression of pubertal events varies among adolescents, but pubertal changes occur in a predictable stepwise manner. Factors including individual differences in physical and psychosocial development, stage of development based on age (early, middle, and late), and the rate of pubertal development, may all contribute to the way in which adolescents experience sports activities. During adolescence, gender differences also become more apparent and may significantly impact sports participation. As practitioners evaluate overall development and adolescent readiness for sports participation, they should consider the different areas of development including: somatic, neurologic, cognitive, psychosocial-function in an integrated and interdependent approach.