Neven Kovačević1,2, Frane Mihanović3, Kristian Hrbić2, Miodrag Mirović4, Tea Galić5,6

1Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Split, Split, Croatia
2Croatian Water Polo Federation, Zagreb, Croatia
3University Department of Health Studies University of Split, Split, Croatia
4Water Polo and Swimming Federation of Montenegro, Kotor, Montenegro
5Department of Prosthodontics, Study of Dental Medicine, University of Split School of Medicine, Split, Croatia
6Department of Neuroscience, University of Split School of Medicine, Split, Croatia

Anthropometric Characteristics and Specific Functional Swimming Capacities in Youth U12 Water Polo Players

Monten. J. Sports Sci. Med. 2023, 12(1), 29-34 | DOI: 10.26773/mjssm.230304


Introduction: Water polo is a physically high-demanding team sport, therefore players’ physical abilities and anthropometric characteristics are important factors to achieve a good level of quality in technical-tactical actions. The aim of this study was to determine the association of the chronological age with the anthropometric characteristics and specific functional swimming capacities in youth U12 male water polo players. Methods: There were 170 youth U12 water polo players who attended the Croatian Water Polo Federation training camps included in this cross-sectional study. Measurements included anthropometric characteristics and specific functional swimming capacities. Results: Players were divided according to their chronological age: Q1 (January- March) – 59 players (34.7%), Q2 (April-June) – 35 players (20.6%), Q3 (July-September) – 46 players (27.1%) and Q4 (October-December) – 30 players (17.6%). Older players born in Q1 presented higher values of body height and weight than their younger peers born in Q4 (Q1 165.96±7.88 cm vs. Q4 159.46±5.44 cm, P=0.001; Q1 60.14±13.99 kg vs. Q4 51.35±7.09 kg, P=0.023), while there were no statistically significant differences in specific functional swimming tests between different age groups. Discussion: Contrary to what was hypothesized, older water polo players presented only better anthropometric characteristics than their younger peers, probably due to the biological maturity influence on functional skills, as well as small range of chronological age differences. Conclusion: Such data might provide an understanding of the general and specific water polo player’s development process, which should be considered by coaches of youth players to improve their skills as a result of developing better training programs.


water polo, chronological age, development, swimming, performance

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