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J Sci Med Sport. 2007 Apr;10(2):110-8. Epub 2006 Jul 18.

Relationship between pre-season anthropometric and fitness measures and indicators of playing performance in elite junior Australian Rules football.

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School of Human Movement & Sport Sciences, University of Ballarat, PO Box 663, Ballarat, Victoria 3353, Australia.


The purpose of this research was to determine the relationships between selected anthropometric and fitness measures with indicators of performance in elite junior Australian football players. During the pre-season, 485 players from the elite Victorian under-18 Australian Rules football competition were tested for height, body mass, hand span, arm length, standing reach, vertical jump, 5 and 20 m sprint times, agility, predicted VO(2max) and sit and reach flexibility. Performance indicators included being selected for the first game of the season and the number of possessions, marks, hitouts, and the number of games where votes were awarded in the first eight games of the season. The top and bottom four teams on the ladder were also compared after eight games. Players were divided into groups on the basis of the above indicators and the groups were compared statistically by analysis of variance (ANOVA). There were several significant differences between selected and non-selected players. Players acquiring the most possessions were significantly (p<0.05) shorter (effect size: ES=0.78), with less body mass (ES=0.55) and possessed greater acceleration (ES=0.44-0.56) and endurance (ES=0.51). Body mass was significantly related to the number of marks and height was related to hitouts (p<0.05). Acceleration was the only fitness quality to discriminate between higher and lower vote winners. The players from the top four teams had a significantly greater standing reach (p=0.038, ES=0.53), were heavier (p=0.032, ES=0.55) but not superior in any fitness measure. Generally hand span, agility and flexibility were not related to performance indicators. It was concluded that shorter and lighter players who possess high levels of speed and endurance are more likely to acquire possessions and be awarded votes, however these attributes do not guarantee team success. The small relationships between agility and flexibility to performance might be explained by the choice of tests used to assess these qualities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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