This study aimed to investigate the influence of chronological age and maturation status on sprint acceleration characteristics in junior Australian football (AF) players. Biological maturity of 109 subjects was assessed and subjects were grouped according to predicted years from peak height velocity (PHV) (pre-, mid-, and post-PHV) and chronological age (13 years, 14 years, and 15 years). A one-way multivariate analysis of variance and magnitude-based decisions were used to determine between-group differences. Instantaneous velocity was measured during two maximal 30m sprints via radar gun with the velocity-time data used to derive the force, velocity, and power characteristics. Chronologically, the greatest differences were observed between the 13 and 14 year old groups with the latter group producing likely greater relative maximum power (Pmax) (ES[effect size]=0.44) and theoretical maximal velocity (V0) (ES=0.49). The post-PHV group likely demonstrated a greater ability to apply force at faster velocity (V0; ES=0.59) and orient the force in a horizontal direction (Drf%; ES=-0.49) than the mid-PHV group. No differences in relative theoretical maximal force (F0) were observed between groups. Considering the findings, practitioners should aim to improve relative lower limb strength through heavy sled push or sled pulls and traditional strength training exercises to improve relative F0.


kinetics, kinematics, force, velocity, power, youth

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