Body Size of Male Youth Soccer Players: 1978–2015
Studies of the body size and proportions of athletes have a long history. Comparisons of athletes within specific sports across time, though not extensive, indicate both positive and negative trends.
To evaluate secular variation in heights and weights of male youth soccer players reported in studies between 1978 and 2015.
Reported mean ages, heights, and weights of male soccer players 9–18 years of age were extracted from the literature and grouped into two intervals: 1978–99 and 2000–15. A third-order polynomial was fitted to the mean heights and weights across the age range for each interval, while the Preece–Baines model 1 was fitted to the grand means of mean heights and mean weights within each chronological year to estimate ages at peak height velocity and peak weight velocity for each time interval.
Third-order polynomials applied to all data points and estimates based on the Preece–Baines model applied to grand means for each age group provided similar fits. Both indicated secular changes in body size between the two intervals. Secular increases in height and weight between 1978–99 and 2000–15 were especially apparent between 13 and 16 years of age, but estimated ages at peak height velocity (13.01 and 12.91 years) and peak weight velocity (13.86 and 13.77 years) did not differ between the time intervals.
Although the body size of youth soccer players increased between 1978–99 and 2000–15, estimated ages at peak height velocity and peak weight velocity did not change. The increase in height and weight likely reflected improved health and nutritional conditions, in addition to the selectivity of soccer reflected in systematic selection and retention of players advanced in maturity status, and exclusion of late maturing players beginning at about 12–13 years of age. Enhanced training programs aimed at the development of strength and power are probably an additional factor contributing to secular increases in body weight.
KeywordsSoccer Player Adult Height Secular Change Peak Height Velocity American Football Player
We greatly appreciate the assistance of Prof. Slawomir M. Kozieł of the Department of Anthropology, Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wrocław, Poland with the StatSoft modeling.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this article.
Conflicts of interest
Robert M. Malina, Antonio J. Figueiredo, and Manuel J. Coelho-e-Silva declare they have no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this review.
This review was performed in accordance with ethical standards for research.
- 1.Carter JEL, editor. Physical structure of Olympic athletes. Part II. Kinanthropometry of Olympic athletes. Basel: Karger; 1984.Google Scholar
- 2.Malina RM. Anthropometry in physical education and sport sciences. In: Spencer F, editor. History of physical anthropology: an encyclopedia, vol. one. New York: Garland Publishing; 1997. p. 90–4.Google Scholar
- 3.Malina RM. Growth and maturation of child and adolescent track and field athletes/Crescita e Maturazione di Bambini ed Adolescenti Praticanti Atletica Leggera (in both English and Italian). Rome: Centro Studi e Ricerche, Federazione Italiana di Atletica Leggera; 2006.Google Scholar
- 4.Kunze D, Hughes PCR, Tanner JM. Anthropometrische untersuchungen an sportlern der XX. Olympischen 1972 in München. In: Jungmann H, editor. Sportwissenschaftliche Untersuchungen während der XX. Olympischen Spiele, München, 1972. Hamburg: Karl Demeter; 1976: p. 33–56.Google Scholar
- 5.Malina RM, Little BB, Bouchard C, et al. Growth status of Olympic athletes less than 18 years of age: young athletes at the Mexico City, Munich, and Montreal Olympic Games. In: Carter JEL, editor. Physical structure of Olympic athletes. Part II. Kinanthropometry of Olympic athletes. Basel: Karger; 1984. p. 183–201.Google Scholar
- 9.Malina RM. Growth and maturation of female gymnasts. Spotlight on youth sports, vol. 19, no. 3. East Lansing: Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, Michigan State University; 1996. p. 1–3.Google Scholar
- 10.Claessens AL. Elite female gymnasts: a kinanthropometric overview. In: Johnston FE, Zemel B, Eveleth PB, editors. Human growth in context. London: Smith-Gordon; 1999. p. 273–80.Google Scholar
- 11.Claessens AL. Growth and maturity status of elite female gymnasts: state of the art. In: Starosta W, Jevtic B, editors. New ideas in fundamentals of human movement and sport science: current issues and perspectives (Proceedings of the 10th Sport Kinetics Conference). Belgrade: University of Belgrade, Faculty of Sport and Physical Education; 2009: p. 336–43.Google Scholar
- 12.Malina RM, Rogol AD. Sport training and the growth and pubertal maturation of young athletes. Pediatr Endocrinol Rev. 2011;9:441–55.Google Scholar
- 15.Malina RM. Growth and maturity status of young soccer (football) players. In: Reilly T, Williams AM, editors. Science and soccer. 2nd ed. London: Routledge; 2003. p. 287–306.Google Scholar
- 16.Malina RM, Coelho e Silva M, Figueiredo AJ. Growth and maturity status of youth players. In: Williams AM, editor. Science and soccer: developing elite performers. 3rd ed. Abington: Routledge; 2013. p. 307–32.Google Scholar
- 17.Lukyanova RP, Novocelova NI. Physical development and physical preparation of young athletes in track and field, soccer and basketball. Teoriya i Praktika Fizicheskoy Kultury (Russia). 1964;6:38–41 (reprinted in Yessis Translation Review, 1967;2:18–22).Google Scholar
- 20.Kuczmarski RJ, Ogden CL, Grummer-Strawn LM, et al. CDC growth charts: United States. Advance data from vital and health statistics, no. 314. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics; 2000.Google Scholar
- 21.Malina RM, Bouchard C, Bar-Or O. Growth, maturation, and physical activity. 2nd ed. Champaign: Human Kinetics; 2004.Google Scholar
- 22.Ogden CL, Fryar CD, Carroll MD, et al. Mean body weight, height, and body mass index, United States 1962–2002. Advance data from vital and health statistics, no 347. Hyattsville: National Center for Health Statistics; 2004.Google Scholar
- 23.McDowell MA, Fryar CD, Ogden CL, et al. Anthropometric reference data for children and adults: United States, 2003–2006. National Health Statistics Reports, no 10. Hyattsville: National Center for Health Statistics; 2008.Google Scholar
- 30.Mirwald RL, Bailey DA, Rasmussen RL. Growth package utility program: growth plots (Growth-PB Model1.exe). Saskatoon: College of Physical Education, University of Saskatchewan; 2004.Google Scholar
- 31.StatSoft, Inc. Statistica (data analysis software system), Version 12, 2014. http://www.statsoft.com. Accessed 3 Nov 2016.
- 34.Froberg K, Andersen B, Lammert O. Maximal oxygen uptake and respiratory functions during puberty in boy groups of different physical activity. In: Frenkl R, Szmodis I, editors. Children and exercise: pediatric work physiology XV. Budapest: National Institute for Health Promotion; 1991. p. 265–80.Google Scholar
- 38.Malina RM. The influence of physical activity and training on growth and maturation. In: Armstrong N, van Mechelen W, editors. Oxford textbook of children’s exercise science and medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2017. p. 441–54.Google Scholar
- 43.Malina RM. Assessment of biological maturation. In: Armstrong N, van Mechelen W, editors. Oxford textbook of children’s exercise science and medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2017. p. 3–11.Google Scholar
- 44.Vrijens J, Pannier JL, Van Cauter C. Voetbal, groei en ontwikkeling. Werken van de Belgische Vereniging voor Sportgeneeskunde en Sportwetenschappen. 1981–1982;30:66–75.Google Scholar
- 45.Atomi Y, Fukunaga T, Yamamoto Y, et al. Lactate threshold and VO2 max of trained and untrained boys relative to muscle mass and composition. In: Rutenfranz J, Mocellin R, Klimt F, editors. Children and exercise XII. Champaign: Human Kinetics; 1986. p. 53–8.Google Scholar
- 46.Satake T, Okajima Y, Atomi Y, et al. Effect of physical exercise on physical growth and maturation. J Phys Fit Jpn. 1986;35:104–10.Google Scholar
- 47.Peña-Reyes ME, Cardenas-Barahona E, Malina RM. Growth, physique, and skeletal maturation of soccer players 7–17 years of age. Humanbiologia Budapestinensis. 1994;25:453–8.Google Scholar
- 51.Mazzanti L, Tassinari D, Bergamaschi R, et al. Hormonal, auxological and anthropometric aspects in young football players. In: Bierich JR, Cacciari E, Raiti S, editors. Growth abnormalities. New York: Raven Press; 1989. p. 363–9.Google Scholar
- 54.Bodzsár EB, Susanne C. Secular growth changes in Europe: do we observe similar trends? Considerations for future research. In: Bodzsar EB, Susanne C, editors. Secular growth changes in Europe. Budapest: Eötvös University Press; 1998. p. 369–81.Google Scholar
- 62.Cumming SP, Lloyd RS, Oliver JL, et al. Bio-banding in sport: applications to competition, talent identification, and strength and conditioning of youth athletes. Strength Cond J. 2017;39:34–47.Google Scholar