This study attempted to validate an anthropometric equation for predicting age at peak height velocity (PHV) in 198 Polish girls followed longitudinally from 8 to 18 years. Maturity offset (years before or after PHV) was predicted from chronological age, mass, stature, sitting height and estimated leg length at each observation; predicted age at PHV was the difference between age and maturity offset. Actual age at PHV for each girl was derived with Preece-Baines Model 1. Predicted ages at PHV increased from 8 to16 years and varied relative to time before and after actual age at PHV. Predicted and actual ages at PHV did not differ at 9 years, but predicted overestimated actual age at PHV from 10 to 16 years. Girls of contrasting maturity status differed in predicted age at PHV from 8 to 14 years. In conclusion, predicted age at PHV is dependent upon age at prediction and individual differences in actual age at PHV, which limits its utility as an indicator of maturity timing in general and in sport talent programmes. It may have limited applicability as a categorical variable (pre-, post-PHV) among average maturing girls during the interval of the growth spurt, ~11.0-13.0 years.
Keywords: adolescence; maturation; peak height velocity; talent identification; youth athletes.