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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2020 Jul 30

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.20.11182-4

Copyright © 2020 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Contextual factors influencing the characteristics of female football players

Jesse GRIFFIN 1 , Sean HORAN 2, Justin KEOGH 3, 4, 5, 6, Karl DODD 7, Melissa ANDREATTA 8, Clare MINAHAN 1

1 Griffith Sports Science, School of Allied Health Sciences, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia; 2 Physiotherapy, School of Allied Health Sciences, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia; 3 Exercise and Sports Science, Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia; 4 Sports Performance Research Centre New Zealand, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand; 5 Cluster for Health Improvement, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast, Australia; 6 Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, India; 7 Guam Football Association, Barrigada, Guam; 8 Brisbane Strikers Football Club, Brisbane, Australia


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Women’s football participation rates are projected to increase to 60 million worldwide by 2026, doubling the current participation. Growing investment and the increase in research in women’s football has had a positive effect on the level of performance over the last 10 years. The present review will examine the literature on the physical and physiological characteristics of female football players from 2010 to 2019 to reflect the recent changes in professionalism. Characteristics investigated include anthropometry, strength, speed, endurance, power, change of direction and repeated sprint ability. These characteristics are presented in relation to playing position, age and competition-level. Results revealed that goalkeepers (171 cm, 66 kg) and defenders (168 cm, 61 kg) were the tallest and had the greatest body mass, while attackers were the fastest players over 20 m (3.05 s) and 30 m (4.38 s) and midfielders had the highest endurance (55.4 ml∙kg-1∙min-1) (p < 0.05). Characteristics tended to improve with age until full biological maturity around 17 to 18 years of age. Competition comparisons demonstrated international players have significantly greater speed, repeated sprint ability, power and endurance characteristics (p < 0.05). By identifying influential factors, coaches may be able to optimise their training and physical assessment practises, to better expose players to the required stimulus to develop these characteristics considered crucial to improved performance.


KEY WORDS: Testing; Soccer; Women; Strength; Speed

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