chapter  68
Age and Maturity-Related Variability in Body Size and Physique among Youth Male Portuguese Soccer Players
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Variation in size, physique and maturity characteristics of young athletes in a variety of sports is reasonably well documented (Malina, 1994, 1998). Further, young athletes often have somatotypes that are generally similar, though not identical, to adult athletes within the same sport or event within a sport (Carter and Heath, 1990). On the other hand, maturity-associated variation in size and physique within specific age groups of young athletes in a sport is less well documented. Boys advanced in biological maturity are, on average, taller and heavier, and perform better in strength, speed and power tasks compared to average (“on time”) and later maturing chronological age peers (Malina et al., 2003).