The aim of this study was to examine the influence of age and maturation upon magnitude of asymmetry in the force, stiffness and the spatiotemporal determinants of maximal sprint speed in a large cohort of boys.
344 boys between the ages of 11 and 16 years completed an anthropometric assessment and a 35 m sprint test, during which sprint performance was recorded via a ground-level optical measurement system. Maximal sprint velocity, as well as asymmetry in spatiotemporal variables, modeled force and stiffness data were established for each participant. For analysis, participants were grouped into chronological age, maturation and percentile groups.
The range of mean asymmetry across age groups and variables was 2.3–12.6%. The magnitude of asymmetry in all the sprint variables was not significantly different across age and maturation groups (p > .05), except relative leg stiffness (p < .05). No strong relationships between asymmetry in sprint variables and maximal sprint velocity were evident (rs < .39).
These results provide a novel benchmark for the expected magnitude of asymmetry in a large cohort of uninjured boys during maximal sprint performance. Asymmetry in sprint performance is largely unaffected by age or maturation and no strong relationships exist between the magnitude of asymmetry and maximal sprint velocity.
Meyers, Oliver, Hughes, and Lloyd are with the Youth Physical Development Unit, Cardiff School of Sport, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, UK. Cronin is with the Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand (SPRINZ), AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand.