Biological maturity vs. relative age: Independent impact on physical performance in male and female youth handball players

de la Rubia, Alfonso and Kelly, Adam L. and García-González, Jorge and Lorenzo, Jorge and Mon-López, Daniel and Maroto-Izquierdo, Sergio (2023) Biological maturity vs. relative age: Independent impact on physical performance in male and female youth handball players. Biology of Sport, 41 (3). pp. 3-13. ISSN 0860-021X

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Maturity status and relative age are two of the determining factors in talent development. The aim of the study was to analyze the influence of biological maturity status and relative age on physical performance in young male and female handball players. The sample included 48 males (14.11 ± 1.17 years) and 41 females (14.25 ± 1.64 years) players from one Spanish professional handball academy. Anthropometric data (height, sitting height, body mass and self-reported biological parent heights) and physical performance data (CMJ, DJ, 20 m speed, T-test and throwing velocity) were collected. Biological maturity status was determined as the percentage of predicted adult height, while relative age was estimated in birth quartiles based on biennial age grouping (Q1–Q8). The results showed a positive correlation between maturity status and CMJ in male players (p < 0.01). Differences in CMJ performance according to maturity status were identified (p < 0.05), with higher jump heights being recorded especially in early maturing boys (p < 0.01) and first lines and wings (p < 0.05). The variance in CMJ test scores could be explained by the maturity status by 42.90% in U–15 (p < 0.05) and 72.60% in U–16 male players (p < 0.001). By contrast, no differences were found in girls (p > 0.05). Moreover, no relationships were found between relative age and indices of physical performance (p > 0.05). Overall, maturity status had greater impacts on the tests of physical performance than relative age. Stakeholders should monitor the maturity status of young handball players to avoid physical performance biases that do not allow them to develop their sporting potential.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
27 October 2023Accepted
20 December 2023UNSPECIFIED
Uncontrolled Keywords: Talent development, Talent identification, Team sport, Maturation, Performance, Physical training
Subjects: CAH03 - biological and sport sciences > CAH03-02 - sport and exercise sciences > CAH03-02-01 - sport and exercise sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > College of Life Sciences
Depositing User: Gemma Tonks
Date Deposited: 22 May 2024 14:43
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2024 13:01

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