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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2022 Mar 01

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.22.13592-9

Copyright © 2022 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

lingua: Inglese

Influence of cognitive performance and swimming capacities on selection of youth water polo players to national team

Neven KOVAČEVIĆ 1, 2, Frane MIHANOVIĆ 3, Linda LUŠIĆ KALCINA 4, Kristijan HRBIĆ 2, Tina POKLEPOVIĆ PERIČIĆ 5, Tatjana MATIJAŠ 3, Tea GALIĆ 4, 5

1 Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Split, Split, Croatia; 2 Croatian Water Polo Federation, Zagreb, Croatia; 3 Department of Health Sciences University of Split, Split, Croatia; 4 Department of Neuroscience, University of Split School of Medicine, Split, Croatia; 5 Department of Prosthodontics, Study of Dental Medicine, University of Split School of Medicine, Split, Croatia


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BACKGROUND: Water-polo is an official competitive olympic sport with high energy and technical-tactical demands. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of cognitive performance and specific swimming capacities on the selection of youth water polo players to the national water polo team.
METHODS: There were 83 youth water polo players (mean age 13.61±0.67 years) who attended the Croatian Water Polo Foundation training camps included in this cross-sectional study. Testing included anthropometric measurements, specific swimming capacities and cognitive performance (Stroop test).
RESULTS: Among 83 youth water polo players included in this study there were 13 goalkeepers, 13 center-defenders, 13 centers, 31 perimeter players and 13 wings. Selected players (N=40) performed faster in OffTime (selected 62.99±10.21 s vs. non-selected 69.98±8.93 s, P=0.002) and OnTime (selected 75.61±15.85 s vs. non-selected 86.01±15.40 s, P=0.004) of the Stroop test than non-selected players (N=43). Logistic regression analysis showed significant association between selection of youth water polo players to the national team and swimming results in 400m crawl and 100m crawl, as well as OffTime, OnTime and OnTime minus OffTime on the Stroop test.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study showed that psychomotor ability, inhibition, motor speed and cognitive flexibility were found to be the most important predictors for the selection of youth water polo players to the national water polo team. Furthermore, selected water polo players demonstrated better psychomotor abilities, inhibition and motor speed, as well as better results in all specific swimming tests in comparison to non-selected players.


KEY WORDS: Sports; Water polo; Cognitive functioning; Swimming; Youth athletes

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