The purpose of this study was to investigate the physiological and anthropometric characteristics of junior volleyball players competing at the elite, semi-elite, and novice levels and to establish performance standards for these athletes. One hundred and fifty-three junior national (N = 14 males; N = 20 females), state (N = 16 males; N = 42 females), and novice (N = 27 males; N = 34 females) volleyball players participated in this study. Subjects underwent measurements of standard anthropometry (body mass, height, standing reach height, and sum of 7 skin- folds), lower-body muscular power (vertical jump and spike jump), upper-body muscular power (overhead medicine ball throw), speed (5-m and 10-m sprint), agility (T-test), and estimated maximal aerobic power (multistage fitness test) during the competitive phase of the season, after obtaining a degree of match fitness. Significant differences (p > 0.05) were detected among junior national, state, and novice volleyball players for height, standing reach height, skinfold thickness, lower-body muscular power, agility, and estimated maximal aerobic power, with the physiological and anthropometric characteristics of players typically improving with increases in playing level. Male players were taller, heavier, leaner, and had greater standing reach height, speed, agility, muscular power, and estimated maximal aerobic power than female players. These findings provide normative data and performance standards for junior volleyball players competing at the elite, semi-elite, and novice levels. Given the improvements in lower-body muscular power, agility, and estimated maximal aerobic power with increased playing level, and given the importance of these qualities to competitive performances, conditioning coaches should train these qualities to improve the playing performances of junior volleyball players.
(C) 2007 National Strength and Conditioning Association