Now a new study, published in Biomedical Engineering Online, suggests that it might be down to their brains.
Boys whose growth is steadier and less rapid are often able to remain more coordinated than their fast-growing peers.
The study measured 88 15-year-old boys and then divided them into two groups – those who grew over 3cm over the course of the study, and those who grew 1cm or less.
The boys also performed mental arithmetic tasks during walking to measure the "relative cognitive demand" of gait control.
The study found that those who grew more rapidly were less able to walk smoothly, and that their gait and stride was less regular.
"Adolescents tend to show previous control of the body when growing up, but he motor control behaviour is organised on the body's dimensions."