Modeling Longitudinal Changes in 5 m Sprinting Performance Among Young Male Tennis Players1

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Year-to-year changes in sprinting in youth tennis players were examined in a mixed-longitudinal study (256 male players, aged 10–15 years: 993 measurements). Height (h), body mass (BM), lower limb explosive strength (LLES), and a 5-m sprint were measured over five years. During that period, players were classified as elite or sub-elite. To account for the repeated measurements within the individual nature of longitudinal data, multilevel random effects regression analyses were used. Sprint performance improved with age at each additional 1 year of age, thus predicting ∼.016 sec improvement in five-meter sprint time by all variables of the model. It was possible to predict the performance of elite tennis players in the 5-m sprint (sec) for elite players (1.1493 – (0.0159 ċ centered age) – (0.009 ċ BM) – (0.044 ċ LLES) and sub-elite players (1.1493 – (0.0159 ċ centered age) + 0.0135 – (0.009 ċ BM) – (0.044 ċ LLES) – (0.0557 ċ centered age). Sprint performance differences between elite and sub-elite players was related to longitudinal changes in body size and lower limb strength up until age 13.

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