The growth status and rate of a mixed-longitudinal sample (N = 19) of female volleyball players 9–13 years of age were compared to reference data for the general population. The athletes were measured at the beginning and end of the school year. Growth rates in stature and weight adjusted to 6-month intervals were calculated. The results indicate mean statures that are above U.S. reference medians and mean weights that are near the medians (i.e., tall girls with average body weights). Estimated half-year growth rates in stature and weight from 10.0–13.0 years closely match the respective medians of the Fels longitudinal study. The data thus suggest that the larger body size of young volleyball players is not a function of accelerated growth rate during these early adolescent ages and, thus, not due to earlier maturation; body size is likely genotypic and probably reflects selection at relatively young ages for the size demands of the sport.
Robert M. Malina is with the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education at the University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712.