The effect of growth and maturation on the anthropometric characteristics of early, average and late developers: A longitudinal study

  • L van den Berg
  • AE Pienaar
Keywords: Growth, maturation, boys, anthropometry, rugby


The aim of this study was to determine the effect of growth and maturation over a period of three years on the anthropometric characteristics of talented young rugby players aged 15 to 18 years. Differences between early developers (n=4), average developers (n=13) and late developers (n=1) were also assessed. Stature, body mass, skin folds, girth and breadths were all measured, while body mass index, fat percentage, muscle mass, skeletal mass and somatotypes were all derived from the measurements. Differences over the three-year period were analysed within and among groups using descriptive statistics, a repeated measures over time ANOVA and two-way analysis of variance. An analysis, adjusting for race and playing position, was also performed to evaluate the role of these variables in the results. Results indicated greater differences (<0.05) at 15.8 years of age between different maturity groups which decreased with increasing age. Average developed players had a more favourable anthropometric profile for rugby success than early developers after three years, especially in components such as stature, mass, muscle mass and mesomorphy.

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eISSN: 1117-4315