Generic anthropometric and performance characteristics among elite adolescent boys in nine different sports

Publication Type:
Journal Article
European Journal of Sport Science, 2015, 15 (5), pp. 357 - 366
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© 2014 European College of Sport Science. Abstract: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the Flemish Sports Compass (FSC), a non-sport-specific generic testing battery. It was hypothesised that a set of 22 tests would have sufficient discriminant power to allocate athletes to their own sport based on a unique combination of test scores. First, discriminant analyses were applied to the 22 tests of anthropometry, physical fitness and motor coordination in 141 boys under age 18 (16.1 ± 0.8 years) and post age at peak height velocity (maturity offset = 2.674 ± 0.926) from Flemish Top Sport Academies for badminton, basketball, gymnastics, handball, judo, soccer, table tennis, triathlon and volleyball. Second, nine sequential discriminant analyses were used to assess the ability of a set of relevant performance characteristics classifying participants and non-participants for the respective sports. Discriminant analyses resulted in a 96.4% correct classification of all participants for the nine different sports. When focusing on relevant performance characteristics, 80.1% to 97.2% of the total test sample was classified correctly within their respective disciplines. The discriminating characteristics were briefly the following: flexibility in gymnastics, explosive lower-limb strength in badminton and volleyball, speed and agility in badminton, judo, soccer and volleyball, upper-body strength in badminton, basketball and gymnastics, cardiorespiratory endurance in triathletes, dribbling skills in handball, basketball and soccer and overhead-throwing skills in badminton and volleyball. The generic talent characteristics of the FSC enable the distinction of adolescent boys according to their particular sport. Implications for talent programmes are discussed.
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