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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2015 April;55(4):297-304

language: English

Physical and physiological characteristics in male team handball players by playing position – Does age matter?

Nikolaidis P. T. 1, Ingebrigtsen J. 2, Póvoas S. C. 3, Moss S. 4, Torres-Luque G. 5

1 Department of Physical and Cultural Education, Hellenic Army Academy, Athens, Greece;
2 Department of Sport, Centre for Practical Knowledge, University of Nordland, Bodø, Norway;
3 Research Centre in Sports, Health and Human Development, Vila Real, Portugal;
4 Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Chester, Chester, UK;
5 Area of Corporal Express, Faculty of Humanities and Education Sciences, University of Jaen, Jaen, Spain


AIM: The purpose of this study was to examine the variation in physical and physiological characteristics according to playing position in adolescent and adult male team handball (TH) players.
METHODS: Adolescent (N.=57, aged 14.9±1.4 yr) and adult (N.=39, 26.6±5.7 yr) players were examined for anthropometric characteristics, somatotype and body composition, and performed the physical working capacity test, a force-velocity test, the Wingate anaerobic test (WAnT), sit-and-reach test, handgrip strength test, squat jump (SJ), countermovement vertical jump without (CMJ) and with arm-swing, and a 30-s Bosco test. Eccentric utilization ratio (EUR) was calculated as the ratio CMJ to SJ.
RESULTS: In adult players, there were significant differences between wings and the other positions with regard to anthropometric and body composition parameters (body mass, -17.9% to -13.2%; height, -5.3% to -4.3%; and fat-free mass, -13.7% to -9.9%) and anaerobic power assessed by WAnT (peak power, -20.5% to -15.2%; and mean power, -20% to -14.8%); however, these characteristics did not differ significantly in adolescents, in which the only statistically significant difference was found between goalkeepers and the other positions in EUR (+8.1%).
CONCLUSION: Therefore, the differences in physical and physiological characteristics between playing positions are age-dependent. As adult players in this study were taken from players competing in the top Greek league, findings could serve as a base for talent identification and development for future studies. Moreover, knowledge about positional differences might enhance the ability to make tailored position-specific training programs among adult and adolescent players in the future.

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