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Position-Specific Anthropometry and Throwing Velocity of Elite Female Water Polo Players

Martínez, Josue G.1,2; Vila, M Helena; Ferragut, Carmen4; Noguera, Marian M.2; Abraldes, J. Arturo5; Rodríguez, Nuria1,2; Freeston, Jonathan6; Alcaraz, Pedro E.1,2

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000646
Original Research

Abstract: Martínez, JG, Vila, MH, Ferragut, C, Noguera, MM, Abraldes, JA, Rodríguez, N, Freeston, J, and Alcaraz, PE. Position-specific anthropometry and throwing velocity of elite female water polo players. J Strength Cond Res 29(2): 472–477, 2015—This study was conducted with the following aims: (a) to describe the effect of playing position on anthropometrics and throwing velocity in elite female water polo players and (b) to observe any relationships between anthropometric parameters and throwing velocity. To achieve these aims, we analyzed a total of 46 female elite players (age: 22.5 ± 5.1 years; height: 172.0 ± 6.9 cm, body mass: 67.4 ± 7.5 kg) members of the top 4 teams of the Spanish Honour Division women league (21 offensive wings players, 17 center, and 8 goalkeepers). Wings were significantly shorter and had smaller arm spans than goalkeepers and center players. Goalkeepers demonstrated longer forearm lengths than wing and center players. No other significant differences were evident between positions in terms of anthropometric, strength, or throwing velocity variables The somatotype of the offensive wing players was mesomorphic, whereas centers were endomorph (classified as endomesomorphic). Height, arm span, muscular mass, biepicondylar breadth of the humerus, arm girth (relaxed and tensed), and forearm girth were related to throwing velocity. In conclusion, only a small number of anthropometric differences exist between players of different positions in elite female water polo. Shorter players with smaller arm spans may be better suited to the wings, whereas athletes with longer forearms may be better suited to the goalkeeper position. Taller, more muscular athletes with wider arm spans, broader humeri, and wider arms (relaxed and flexed) tended to throw with increased velocity. Trainers should focus on increasing the modifiable characteristics (muscle mass and arm girths) that contribute to throwing velocity in this population.

Author Information

1Research Center for High Performance Sport - UCAM, San Antonio Catholic University of Murcia, Guadalupe, Murcia, Spain;

2Department of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, San Antonio Catholic University of Murcia, Guadalupe, Murcia, Spain;

3Sport Sciences and Education Faculty, University of Vigo, Pontevedra, Spain;

4Sport Sciences Studies, Medicine Faculty, University of Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain;

5Department of Physical Education, Faculty of Sport Science, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain; and

6Discipline of Exercise, Health and Performance, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Address correspondence to Pedro E. Alcaraz,

Copyright © 2015 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.