This investigation aimed to compare the maximal sprint acceleration profiles of drafted and non-drafted elite junior Australian football (AF) players. Nineteen players (10 drafted and 9 non-drafted) from an elite junior AF state team participated in this study. Instantaneous velocity was measured via radar gun during maximal 30 m sprints. The velocity-time data were analysed to derive individual force-velocity-power characteristics and sprint times. No significant differences existed between groups, however drafted players reached moderately faster maximum velocity (Hedges’ g = 0.70 [-0.08; 1.48] and theoretical maximum velocity (g = 0.65 [-0.13; 1.42]) than non-drafted players indicating a superior ability to apply higher amounts of force at increasing sprinting velocity. Further, drafted players produced moderately higher absolute theoretical maximum force (g = 0.72 [-0.06; 1.50]) and absolute maximum power (g = 0.83 [0.04; 1.62]) which reflects their moderately higher body mass (g = 0.61[-0.16;1.38]). Although not significant, in this sample of elite junior AF players, those drafted into the AFL displayed greater absolute sprint acceleration characteristics and maximal velocity capabilities than their non-drafted counterparts (moderate effect size). Whether force-velocity-power characteristics can be more beneficial in differentiating sprint performance of elite junior Australian footballers compared to the traditional sprint time approach warrants further investigation with a larger sample size.


talent identification, kinetics, kinematics, youth, profiling

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