Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: January 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue - p 1
doi: 10.1097/01.JSC.0000367138.09713.b4

The purpose of the current study was to assess power, speed and agility in British boys and girls of middle school age. Subjects (N = 196; Males: n = 59; Females: n = 137; age: M = 11.9 + 0.6 yr) attended one of two English boarding schools. School 1 was coeducational and located in a rural area while School 2 was for girls only and set in a large metropolitan area. Most subjects were athletes who participated in one or more of the following sports: equestrian, field hockey, rugby, and soccer. Testing data were collected from vertical jump (VJ), standing long jump (SLJ), seated medicine ball throw (SMBT), 20 yd shuttle run (pro agility), curl-ups, and 20 yd sprint (20 yd SP) over two separate sessions. Data were compared based on gender and school. Independent groups t-tests were run to examine gender differences in School 1for the performance variables. Additionally, differences in the performance variables were examined for females comparing Schools 1 and 2 using an independent groups t test. Pearson product moment correlation coefficients were also computed for the female data to determine if relationships existed among the performance variables. Test scores from School 1 were analyzed for gender differences. Male scores were significantly (p < 0.05) higher in SLJ (64.2 + 9.5 vs. 58.9 + 8.6 in) and curl-ups (35 + 10 vs. 30 + 10). Female test scores for School 1 and School 2 were compared. Subjects from School 2 performed better (p < 0.05) on VJ (11.6 + 2.7 vs. 9.9 + 2.2 in), pro agility (5.75 + 0.38 vs. 6.15 + 0.55 sec), and SMBT (11.6 + 1.8 vs. 9.2 + 2.6 ft) than School 1. However, School 1 scored better (p < 0.01) on the 20 yd SP (3.73 + 0.36 vs. 4.05 + 0.31 sec) than School 2. No differences were observed in SLJ or curl-ups between the female subjects at School 1 and School 2. Correlations were run between performance tests for all female data. SLJ had the strongest correlations with the majority of the performance tests: SLJ and VJ (n = 117, r = 0.59, p < 0.01) SLJ and pro agility (n = 114, r = -0.71, p < 0.01) SLJ and 20 yd SP (n = 108, r = -0.62, p < 0.01) VJ and pro agility (n = 114, r = -0.68, p < 0.01) Before puberty there are few differences in body size, strength, power or speed between boys and girls (2,3,4,6). Of the 6 performance tests administered in the current study, School 1 males scored higher in SLJ and curl-ups when compared to School 1 females. Previous research with American boys and girls of similar age to those of the current study found no gender differences in VJ or SLJ (3,4,6). VJ values for boys and girls of School 1 are comparable to those previously published (3,4), as is SLJ for boys of School 1. Previous research with American boys and girls ranging in age from 7-12 years found a significant correlation between SLJ and VJ (6), a finding that was supported by the current study. No relationship was found between upper and lower body power among females in the current study, a result that has been demonstrated in male and female collegiate athletes (1,5). SLJ and VJ are reasonable predictors of each other; therefore, either may be used for a measure of lower body power in middle school aged children. Linear speed (20 yd SP) related better to SLJ than to VJ, which may point to SLJ being a more suitable test for younger athletes.

© 2010 National Strength and Conditioning Association