Karcher, C, Ahmaidi S and Buchheit M. Body Dimensions of Elite Handball Players With Respect To Laterality, Playing Positions and Playing Standard. Journal of Athletic Enhancement SciTechnol, 2014, In press.
Purpose: The aim of the present study was to examine, using a large player database, between-playing positions and playing standard differences in body dimensions.
Methods: We compared stature and body mass of 1295 male elite handball players from different playing positions, i.e., backs (left and right), center backs, goalkeepers, pivots, wings (left and right) and playing standards (European championship, Champions league matches and national leagues from Germany, Spain and France).
Results: When all playing standards were pooled together, wings (left 185±6cm, right 185±6cm) were almost certainly slightly-to-moderately shorter than center backs (188±5 cm), which were slightly-to-largely shorter than backs (left 196±5cm, right 194±5cm), pivots (194±6cm) and goalkeepers (193±5cm). Pivots (100.1±9.1kg) were almost certainly slightly-to-very-largely heavier than the other positions, with backs (left 95.1±7.6kg, right 92.5±8kg) and goalkeepers (93.5±8.5kg) being moderately-to-largely heavier than wings (left 83.3±7.8kg, right 82.1±7kg) and center backs (88±7.6kg). Center, left and right backs were almost certainly slightly-to-moderately taller in the European championships, goalkeepers and right wings in Champions league, left backs in the German first league and pivots in the Spanish first league. Center and left backs were almost certainly slightly-to-moderately heavier in the European championship. Left wings were almost certainly slightly heavier in the German first league and pivots in the Spanish first league.
Conclusions: These data show the importance of considering players’ laterality when assessing their body dimensions. They might also serve as anthropometric benchmarks when profiling talented young players.
Key words: stature; body mass; anthropometric benchmarks; talent identification; players selection.