Performance and anthropometric characteristics of prospective elite junior Australian footballers: A case study in one junior team Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • The aim of the study was to compare anthropometric and physical performance data of players who were selected for a Victorian elite junior U18 Australian rules football squad. Prior to the selection of the final training squad, 54 players were assessed using a battery of standard anthropometric and physical performance tests. Multivariate analysis (MANOVA) showed significant (p<0.05) differences between selected and non-selected players when height, mass, 20-m sprint, agility and vertical jump height were considered collectively. Univariate analysis revealed that the vertical jump was the only significant (p<0.05) individual test and a near significant trend (p=0.07) for height differentiating between selected and non-selected players with medium effect sizes for all other tests except endurance. In this elite junior football squad, physical characteristics can be observed that discriminate between players selected and non-selected, and demonstrates the value of physical fitness testing within the talent identification process of junior (16-18 years) players for squad and/or team selection. Based on MANOVA results, the findings from this study suggest team selection appeared to be related to a generally higher performance across the range of tests. Further, age was not a confounding variable as players selected tended to be younger than those non-selected. These findings reflect the general consensus that, in state-based junior competition, there is evidence of promoting overall player development, selecting those who are generally able to fulfil a range of positions and selecting players on their potential.

publication date

  • April 2008