To describe cross-sectional age differences in change-of-direction performance (CODp) in female football players and investigate the relationship between CODp and linear-sprint speed, muscle power, and body size.
A sample of 135 well-trained female football players was divided into 8 age groups. Anthropometry (height, body mass, and lean body mass) and athletic performance (10-m sprint speed, 10-m × 5-CODp, and 5-step bounding distance) were compared to determine interage differences using ANOVA. Then, the participants were divided into 3 age groups: 12- to 14-y-olds, 15- to 17-y-olds, and ≥ 18 y-olds. Simple- and multiple-regression analyses were conducted to determine the correlation between CODp and the other measurement variables in each age group.
Age-related differences were found for CODp (F = 10.41, P < .01), sprint speed (F = 3.27, P < .01), and bounding distance (F = 4.20, P < .01). Post hoc analysis revealed that the CODp of 17-y-old players was faster than that of 16-y-old players (P < .01), with no interage differences in sprint speed and bounding distance. Sprint speed and bounding distance were weakly correlated with CODp in 15- to ≥18-y-old players, but only sprint speed was correlated with CODp in 12- to 14-y-old players.
CODp improves from 16 to 17 y of age in female players. Linear-sprint speed, muscle power, and body size were weakly correlated with the age differences in CODp.
Hirose is with the Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan. Nakahori is with the JFA Academy Sakai, Osaka, Japan.