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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2021 November;61(11):1441-7

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.20.11776-6


language: English

Influence of maturity status on morphology, grip and throwing speed in young elite water polo players

Daniel LÓPEZ-PLAZA 1, Pablo J. BORGES 2 , Fernando ALACID 3, Francisco M. ARGUDO 4

1 Catholic University of San Antonio, Murcia, Spain; 2 Department of Specific Didactics, Faculty of Education, University of La Laguna, San Cristobal de La Laguna, Spain; 3 Health Research Center, Faculty of Education Sciences, University of Almeria, Almeria, Spain; 4 Department of Physical Education, Sport and Human Motricity, Faculty of Teacher Training and Education, Autonomous University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain

BACKGROUND: Water polo is a team sport that requires not only high levels of power and strength but a robust morphology with big body dimensions for an optimal performance. The aim of this study was to analyze the relationship between anthropometric variables, maturity, grip strength and throwing speed in young water polo competitors.
METHODS: Body composition, biological age, grip strength and throwing speed were evaluated in 28 elite water polo players (15.74±0.83 years old) with competition experience (7.35±1.68 years). The participants were divided into two maturity groups based on the percentage of adult height attained at the moment of assessment (<98% and >98%).
RESULTS: Significant differences and moderate effect sizes were observed across sitting height and upper body lengths and breadths in the more mature players of the >98% group compared with those observed in the <98% group (d>0.42; P<0.05). A large effect size in maturity status and percentage of adult height (d>0.82) was also identified in the >98% players. In addition, significant correlations (P<0.05) were determined between upper and lower body girths and not opposition throwing speed (NOT). Similarly, a linear regression analysis revealed that biacromial breadth, arm girth and medial calf skinfold significantly contributed in predicting NOT speed (r2=0.82; P<0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that body structure is positively related to throwing speed in young water polo players. Furthermore, the results of the present investigation might be useful for talent identification purposes.

KEY WORDS: Youth sports; Aptitude; Anthropometry; Athletic performance

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