Evaluation of the anthropometric parameters and fitness levels of prepubertal Indian soccer players.
Jagot, Mahmood Abdull Rahim.
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Due to the lack of morphological data on prepubertal Indian male soccer players in South Africa, this study was undertaken on ninety male prepubertal subjects. The subjects were divided into three groups of thirty subjects each: Experienced "E" (those playing organized soccer for more than two years), beginners "8" (those playing organized soccer for less than two years) and sedentary "S" (those not participating in organized soccer). All subjects were measured according to Heath - Carter anthropometric somatotype methods. Fitness tests comprising power and strength tests (vertical jump height and standing broad jump) and muscle endurance tests (push - ups and sit - ups) were also done. The three groups were first compared to each other and then to available international data. There were no statistical differences among the three groups for: height, weight, age, triceps, subscapular, suprailiac, calf and total skinfolds, humerus and biceps girth, ectomorphy, mesomorphy and endomorphy, suggesting a general homogenicity between groups. For fitness tests the "E" group performed significantly better than the others for standing broad jump and sit - ups (p = 0.005 and p = 0.036 respectively). For push - ups the "8" and "E" were significantly better than the "S" group, (p = 0.013, for "8" versus "S" group), indicating that in soccer muscle strength and explosive strength are important. The lack of difference between the groups for anthropometric criteria in this study may be explained by the experienced players' inadequate training. Other factors may include the lack of parental involvement, inadequate knowledge on fitness aspects and poor training methods. Furthermore, the sedentary group may be participating in unorganized activities which renders them at a level similar to the experienced group. Data on non - Indian South African junior players is required to help us understand the lack of significant Indian talent in the National team. Other factors such as diet, cultural differences, training methods, level of coaching, environmental factors and sport facilities need investigation and be addressed if we want to see an improvement in the South African Indian soccer players.