Age-related trends in anthropometry and jump and sprint performances in elite soccer players from 13 to 20 years of age: A cross-sectional study
The aim of this investigation was to determine age-related trends for anthropometric and physical variables in elite young soccer players. For this purpose, a total of 114 young male soccer players from a high-performance soccer academy participated in this investigation. Anthropometric and physical variables (countermovement jump, 6×40 m shuttle run test, 2×11 m slalom test with the ball) were determined. Results. Body height (U15<U17~U20; p<0.01) and body mass significantly increased (U15<U17<U20; p<0.01) while body fat decreased with age (U15~U17>U20; p<0.01). However, the relationships of these variables with age were explained by curvilinear polynomial equations with a tendency for plateauing at ~17 years of age. There were also age-based differences in maximal running velocity (U15<U17<U20; p<0.01), running velocity with ball (U15<U17~U20; p<0.01) and jump height (U15<U17<U20; p<0.01). The relationships of the physical variables with age were explained by curvilinear polynomial equations with plateaus starting at~17 years of age. In young soccer players, the evolution of individual anthropometric and physical condition is strongly related to player’s age as part of the qualitative adaptations that accompany growth. However, the growth process cannot be explained by linear models because most of the variables reached a plateau when players were 17 years of age.
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