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A Journal on Sports Medicine

Official Journal of the Italian Sports Medicine Federation
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Medicina dello Sport 2002 December;55(4):255-67


language: English

The physical structure of basketball players: comparison between young and adult athletes

Brasili P., Toselli S.

Facoltà di Scienze Motorie, Dipartimento di Biologia Evoluzionistica Sperimentale, Università degli Studi di Bologna, Bologna


The aims of the present study were to investigate if the physical characteristics of adult basketball players are already present in teenage players, and to identify the anthropometric features that characterize the different playing positions. The sample consists of 40 teenage athletes and 40 adult athletes playing in the same basketball league and on teams occupying the same position in the standings. By analyzing and comparing subjects grouped by age and playing position, it was possible to identify characters present at a young age and also in adulthood, as well as those present in one sample but not in the other. This allowed us to establish the reliability of a character as a predictor of a certain playing position. In the young athletes, the centers have larger dimensions than the other three positions. The differences among the latter are smaller, although the forwards have a longer-limbed structure than the guards and better memorization and associative abilities than the playmakers. In the adults, the playmakers have the smallest dimensions while the centers have the largest ones. The values of the forwards and guards are intermediate, although the former are taller and have a wider pelvis. In adulthood, there seems to be a closer relationship between the physical characteristics and the playing position. This could be due to the fact that the developing body structure determines a choice of position most suitable to the player’s physical characteristics. On the other hand, the body structure is also influenced by the requirements of the position.

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