A comparison of the anthropometric and fitness differences between British university netballers

Coulthwaite, N. (2021) A comparison of the anthropometric and fitness differences between British university netballers. Undergraduate theses, University of Chichester.

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Background research: Previous netball research has suggested that midcourt players are shorter and
lighter and outperform other positions in most fitness measures (Thomas et al., 2017b; Thomas et al.,
2019). It has also been found that competitive players are heavier and taller and gain superior fitness
scores in most measures compared to recreational players (Simpson, Jenkins, Leveritt & Kelly, 2019;
Thomas, Ismail, Comfort, Jones & Dos’Santos, 2016). Although studies have researched differences in
performance profiles between playing positions and also between different standards of netballers, no
equivalent literature exists for British university netball players. Furthermore, no research in netball has
considered the impact of wingspan on playing position or standard.

Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate the anthropometric characteristics and fitness
capacities of British university netball players by position (shooters, midcourters and defenders) and by
standard (competitive and recreational).
Method: 18 British university netball players reported their playing position while coaching staff
defined their playing standard. Testing occurred in off-season. Participants’ height and wingspan was
recorded using a tape measure while body mass was recorded using weighing scales. Participants’
fitness was assessed through sprints (over 5m, 10m and 20m), agility time, vertical and horizontal jump
height and distance and finally an intermittent aerobic endurance was performed. A series of statistical
tests were run to determine if the mean results from shooters, midcourters and defenders were
significantly different from each other (p  0.05) and the same was performed between competitive

Results: Between positions there was no difference in age (p = 0.642), training age (p = 0.782), mass
(p = 0.287) or BMI (p = 0.390). However, midcourt players were significantly shorter (p = 0.020) than
all other positions while defenders had a significantly larger wingspan than midcourt players (p =
0.019). In terms of fitness measures, there was no significant difference in sprint speed (5m p = 0.239,
10m p = 0.9773, 20m p = 0.970), agility (p = 0.634), vertical jump (p = 0.838), single hop (right p =
0.765, left p = 0.977) or triple hop (right p = 0.910, left p = 0.805) between positions, however
defenders scored significantly better than shooters in the intermittent aerobic endurance test (p =
0.027). Between playing standards, there was no significant difference in age (p = 0.730), height (p =
0.161), BMI (p = 0.055), sprint speed (5m p = 0.615, 10m p = 0.405, 20m p = 0.558) or change of
direction deficit (p = 0.935). Competitive players had a significantly greater training age (p = 0.000),
body mass (p = 0.027) and wingspan (p = 0.025) compared to recreational players. Competitive players
also scored significantly better on the vertical jump (p = 0.045), single hop (right p = 0.043 and left p =
0.025), triple hop (right p = 0.008 and left p = 0.002) and intermittent aerobic endurance (p = 0.038).

Conclusions: This study indicates that, among BUCS netball players, there are more anthropometric
differences between players of varying competitive standards than between players of different
positions. The results further indicate that, following a prolonged offseason, while differences between
players of varying standards remain significant, there are minimal differences between players of
varying positions.

Publication Type: Theses (Undergraduate)
Additional Information: BA (Hons) Physical Education in Secondary Years.
Uncontrolled Keywords: netball, fitness, anthropometrics
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports
Divisions: Student Research > Undergraduate
Depositing User: Michelle Farndell
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2021 09:53
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2021 09:53
URI: https://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/5924

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