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Medicina dello Sport 2015 March;68(1):19-30


language: English, Italian

Strength ability, endurance and anthropometric parameters in youth football: descriptive analysis and functional relationships

Sannicandro I. 1, Spedicato M. 1, 2, Palaia G. 3, Cofano G. 1, Bisciotti G. N. 4, Eirale C. 5

1 University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy; 2 A.S. Bari Calcio, Bari, Italy; 3 U.S. Lecce Calcio, Lecce, Italy; 4 Kinemove Center, Pontremoli, Italia; 5 Sport Physician Quatar Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar


AIM: Defining and identifying the motor abilities which contribute to outlining the potential footballer allows to train the young person with increased specificity and with sessions suited to the age and sporting discipline which he will have to practice, above all with reference to the principal youth categories. The study aims to: 1) outline the anthropometric (stature and weight) and functional (explosive strength with reuse of elastic energy, MAS and aerobic power) profile in the different youth categories, Under 15 (U15), Under 17 (U17), Under 20 (U20) of professional teams; 2) verify and describe any differences in the anthropometric and functional variables in the different youth categories observed.
METHODS: The study was conducted on a sample of 328 young footballers belonging to the under 20 (N.=64), under 17 (N.=142), under 15 (N.=122) categories. The anthropometric weight and height parameters were measured as well as the height of the centre of gravity by CMJ, and the maximal aerobic speed (MAS) and VO2max (indirect estimate) value determined by means of the Léger & Boucher incremental test, in the shuttle version.
RESULTS: The weight and stature values increase in a statistically significant manner in the passage from under 15 to under 20 (P<0.001). The VO2max and MAS values tend to identify a performance and statistically significant peak in the U20 category compared with the U15 category. The vertical jump values increase in a statistically significant manner (P<0.001) in the comparison U15 vs. U17, and in the comparison U15 vs. U20.
The weight is correlated with the CMJ in all age groups; in the U15 category the height is significantly correlated with the CMJ (r=0.57, P<0.01) and with VO2max (r=0.298, P<0.01). The CMJ in the U20 category is negatively correlated with the VO2max (r=-0.367, P<0.01).
CONCLUSION: This study confirms the need to monitor the specific performance conditions in the process of training the young talented sportsperson, to describe the performance levels of several football specific motor abilities. Consequently, the description of the functional levels of strength ability and aerobic power in youth categories allows to select and determine the contents of the training, useful to the footballer as he is being formed, to achieve those prerequisites he will soon need to possess when he moves into the professional or top level championships.

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