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Positional Relationships Between Various Sprint and Jump Abilities in Elite American Football Players

Robbins, Daniel W; Young, Warren B

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: February 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue 2 - p 388-397
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318225b5fa
Original Research

Robbins, DW and Young, WB. Positional relationships between various sprint and jump abilities in elite American football players. J Strength Cond Res 26(2): 388–397, 2012—The purpose of this study was to investigate positional relationships between sprint and jump abilities and body mass in elite college American football players (n = 1,136). Data from the annual National Football League combine over the years 2005–2009 were examined. The measures included for examination were the 9.1-, 18.3-, 36.6-, and flying 18.3-m sprints and the vertical and horizontal jumps. Pearson's correlation coefficients (r) were calculated to determine the relationships between the tests, and coefficients of determination (r 2) were used to determine common variance. With the exception of the relationship between the 9.1-m and the flying 18.3-m sprints, the relationships between all sprints are very strong. Vertical jump ability is more strongly associated with maximum speed, as compared with acceleration. Horizontal jump ability is similarly associated with maximum speed and acceleration. The 9.1-, 18.3-, and flying 18.3-m sprints and the jump tests would appear to measure independent skills. Stationary start sprints up to 36.6 m appear to be heavily influenced by acceleration and may thus measure similar characteristics. The flying 18.3-m sprint is recommended as a measure of maximum speed. Body mass was most strongly associated with performance in the lineman group. When body mass was controlled for, correlations weakened across all the groups. The role of body mass remains unclear. Regardless of sport, the present research supports the notion that the relationships between various sprint and jump abilities warrant positional consideration. Coaches and practitioners will be able to use the findings of this research to better test and monitor athletes requiring different skills.

1Canadian Sport Center-Pacific, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; and 2School of Human Movement and Sport Sciences, University of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

Address correspondence to Daniel W. Robbins,

Copyright © 2012 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.