Sprint performance changes and determinants in Afro-Caribbean adolescents between 13 and 15 years old

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Abstract

Afro-Caribbean sprinters often reach high performance levels at an early age. Adolescence is a time of morphological and physiological changes. This study was designed to analyze the evolution in parameters of short sprint performance during adolescence in Afro-Caribbean boys, especially the stride number/body height ratio (SN/BH), which is at the interface of technical and morphological factors. Seventy-one 13-year-old boys performed vertical jumps and short sprint races. The races were filmed with a view to determine stride variables. Anthropometric parameters were also measured. The same tests were performed two years later. Body height and SN/BH were the main predictors of sprint performance. The delta of performance was principally explained by stride length and stride number. Although deterioration in technical parameters was expected, the parameters related to body size and stride length were the main sprint performance predictors rather than explosive force. These results could be useful in developing tests to detect sprint potential in youth.

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