Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Body Composition of Elite Youth Soccer Players with Respect to Field Position

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Body Composition of Elite Youth Soccer Players with Respect to Field Position

Article excerpt


Body composition is an important indicator of physical fitness and general health of athletes (Warner, Fornetti, Jallo, & Pivarnik, 2004) and nowadays it also is a frequently discussed topic in scientific literature. Optimal body composition in terms of health is individual and is always determined by age, gender, somatotype, genetic factors, level of physical activity and individual variability. In athletes, body composition is not only considered a prerequisite for health but it also firmly fits in the structure of sport performance and together with other factors determines the quality of human motion and the final level of performance. Body composition provides us with an athlete's detailed physiological profile. Amount of lean body mass determines values of individual parameters of functional fitness. It is difficult to define optimal body composition for a particular sport discipline. Generally, inactive fat mass is undesirable and active muscle mass is desirable for physical activity. Excess adipose tissue acts as dead weight in activities during which the body mass must be repeatedly lifted against gravity during locomotion and jumping (Reilly, 1996); this in turn decreases performance and increases the energy demands of the activity. In contrast, fat-free mass contributes to the production of power during high-intensity activities and provides greater absolute strength for resistance to high dynamic and static loads. Body composition is a key consideration in the physical make - up of professional soccer players in terms of that one of aims of body composition assessment is to differentiate and quantify different body compartments (Sutton, Scott, Wallace, & Reilly, 2009); on the other hand, it also detects symmetry of active mass distribution in individual segments as injury prevention (Malá, Malý, Zahálka, & Bunc, 2014). Information on body composition can be an indicator of athlete's nutritional state; moreover, it can provide information on current body fluid homeostasis (Andreoli et al., 2003). Assessment of intracellular and extracellular mass belongs to the best predictors of muscular efficiency that can predict physical performance (Andreoli et al., 2003). Elite soccer players are characterised by relative heterogeneity in body composition. However, different demands on particular field positions are also reflected in different body composition of these players. In elite soccer, differences between physiological parameters and anthropometric predispositions in relation to the player's field position were found. Aerobic requirements are greatest in outfield players and midfield players, and least in central defenders (Reilly & Thomas, 1976). Team position is of extreme importance in interpretation of morphological data because there are specific demands for a specific play position (Matkovic et al., 2003).

Bioelectrical impedance analysis is in practice commonly used for its advantages, such as inexpensive, noninvasive, portable, quick, safety of operation, neither requires a high degree of technical skill nor client's discomfort as it is in hydrodensitometry. Nowadays, there are also studies observing changes in body composition in elite athletes during the match, during sports training periods and the effect of supplements, as well. Houtkooper, Lohman, Going, and Howell (1996) reported that in case of proper standardization of methods, instrumentation, and subject preparation, this non-invasive body composition assessment approach can quickly, easily, and relatively inexpensively provide accurate and reliable estimates of fat free mass and total body water in subjects.

The aim of the study was to determine and compare selected body composition variables from the field position perspective in elite youth soccer players using bioelectrical impedance analysis.

Material & methods


The research sample consisted of three youth elite soccer teams of U19 category (participants of the highest national league). …

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