Physical and physiological characteristics in male team handball players by playing position – Does age matter?

AIM: The purpose of this study was to examine the variation in physical and physiological characteristics according to playing position in adolescent and adult male team handball (TH) players. METHODS: Adolescent (N.=57, aged 14.9±1.4 yr) and adult (N.=39, 26.6±5.7 yr) players were examined for anthropometric characteristics, somatotype and body composition, and performed the physical working capacity test, a force-velocity test, the Wingate anaerobic test (WAnT), sit-and-reach test, handgrip strength test, squat jump (SJ), countermovement vertical jump without (CMJ) and with arm-swing, and a 30-s Bosco test. Eccentric utilization ratio (EUR) was calculated as the ratio CMJ to SJ. RESULTS: In adult players, there were significant differences between wings and the other positions with regard to anthropometric and body composition parameters (body mass, -17.9% to -13.2%; height, -5.3% to -4.3%; and fat-free mass, -13.7% to -9.9%) and anaerobic power assessed by WAnT (peak power, -20.5% to -15.2%; and mean power, -20% to -14.8%); however, these characteristics did not differ significantly in adolescents, in which the only statistically significant difference was found between goalkeepers and the other positions in EUR (+8.1%). CONCLUSION: Therefore, the differences in physical and physiological characteristics between playing positions are age-dependent. As adult players in this study were taken from players competing in the top Greek league, findings could serve as a base for talent identification and development for future studies. Moreover, knowledge about positional differences might enhance the ability to make tailored position-specific training programs among adult and adolescent players in the future.
© Copyright 2015 The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. Edizioni Minerva Medica. All rights reserved.

Subjects: handball male age playing position (sport games) physique anthropometry sport physiology
Notations: sport games
Published in: The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness
Published: 2015
Volume: 55
Issue: 4
Pages: 297-304
Document types: article
Language: English
Level: advanced