Anthropometric characteristics and physiological performance variables of male and female junior hockey players in KwaZulu Natal.
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Anthropometric measures, physiological variables and skills tests were performed on subjects selected from the provincial KwaZulu Natai Junior Hockey teams in South Africa. The main purpose of this study was to establish a data base of norms for boy and girls in the UB, U14, U16, UI8 and the U2I age groups. The tests were done at the beginning and at the end of season. The anthropometric measures included height, weight, percentage body fat and lean body mass; physiological variables included sit-ups, push-ups, sit-and-reach (flexibility), broad jump, winder and bleep tests , and the skills tests comprised a wide range of ball skill tests. As expected, anthropometric changes were observed across the age groups, due to growth. Amongst the older age groups the girls had reached height and weight values comparable to elite female players , but only the boys in the U2I had reached their adult height and were slightly taller than the elite male players. There was no significant difference in the profile between the attack and defence players in the boys, but amongst the girls the defence players tended to be heavier and taller than the attack players. In the physiological and skills tests there was no difference between positional players. In the comparison between pre and end season to determine the effectiveness of the training programmes, there was a change in the anthropometric characteristics because of growth. However, the physiological and skill tests revealed no consistent pattern of improvement in the test results from pre season to end season. This study provides the first set of norms for male and female junior hockey players in South Africa. Further studies are required to expand upon and update the data in the current study.