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Saturday, October 8, 2011

How to estimate maturity in young players

Power, strength and endurance are all important aspects of physical fitness in top level football. In pre-pubertal boys these parameters are affected not from chronological but biological age. This explains the large variation in performance between pre-pubertal boys of similar chronological age.

Indeed, biological age is associated with hormonal changes that affect performance. For instance, puberty in males is associated with elevated testosterone concentration. High testosterone levels in the blood stream will increase muscle and heart size and this will result in sprint, jump and endurance improvements. Thus, the estimation of biological age or maturity level is important to talent identification and development in modern football.

Methods for maturity estimation
-x-ray of the fingers, hand and wrist: A hand is easily x-rayed with minimal radiation and shows many bones in a single view. The bones in the x-ray are compared to the bones of a standard atlas. This is the “gold standard” method that also can be used for height prediction with an acceptable accuracy.

-anthropometry: this is an indirect method based on certain simple anthropometric measures. It is a practical method predicting years from peak height velocity age (maturity offset value).

The equation is
Maturity offset= -9.236 + 0.0002708 (leg length X sitting height) - 0.001663 (age X leg length) + 0.007216 (age X sitting height) + 0.02292 (weight/height)

To read more on skeletal age in football please visit
Nassis G. Do talented players become elite adults? http://www.bmj.com/content/338/bmj.b490/reply


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