African Journal for Physical Activity and Health Sciences

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Anthropometric, physical and motor fitness profiles of 10 to 15-year old girls in the north west province of South Africa: implications for sport talent identification

Maria M. Van Gent, Anita E. Pienaar, Dawie D.J. Malan


The aim of this study was to gain knowledge as to how girls in the North West Province (South Africa) develop with regard to some of their anthropometrical, physical and motor fitness characteristics from the age of 10- to 15- years. The subjects were part of the THUSA BANA research project (project number OOM-10), which was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education. A total of 556 girls between the ages of 10- and 15- years were tested. The sample was stratified for region, type of school and predominant ethnic group. The tests consisted of four anthropometrical measurements, six physical fitness tests and five motor fitness tests. Data analyses were performed using the Statistica for Windows computer package. Descriptive statistics were used to determine mean and standard deviation. The one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and the Tukey-test (Thomas & Nelson, 1996) were applied for significance. The level of significance was set at p<0.05. All anthropometrical measurements increased with age, except for the relative sitting height. Regarding the physical fitness parameters, only target throwing for accuracy and basketball throw demonstrated significant improvement with increasing age. Grip strength was the only physical fitness parameter that improved significantly with an increase in age. The white girls demonstrated the most superior results with regard to explosive strength (power), strength and speed. Black girls performed the best in flexibility, while the Indian girls had the strongest abdominal muscles. Coloured girls had the best results in aerobic endurance and agility. The differences found between racial groups also emphasise the need for growth-specific talent identification guidelines to ensure that these girls are allocated to the sport best suited for them.

(Af. J. for Physical, Health Education, Recreation and Dance: 2003 9 (1): 52-66)

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