Maximal sprint speed in boys of increasing maturity

Document Type

Journal Article


Human Kinetics Publishers Inc.

Place of Publication

Champaign, USA


School of Medical and Health Sciences




Originally published as: Meyers, R., Oliver, J., Hughes, M., Cronin, J., & Lloyd, R. (2015). Maximal sprint speed in boys of increasing maturity. Pediatric Exercise Science, 27(1), 85-94. doi: 10.1123/pes.2013-0096. Original article available here


The purpose of this study was to examine the natural development of the mechanical features of sprint performance in relation to maturation within a large cohort of boys. Three hundred and thirty - six boys (11 – 15 years) were analyzed for sprint performance and maturation. Maximal speed, stride length (SL), stride frequency (SF), flight time (FT) and contact time (CT) were assessed during a 30m sprint. Five maturation groups (G1 – 5) were established based on age from peak height velocity (PHV) where G1=>2.5years pre - PHV, G2 = 2.49 – 1.5years pre - PHV, G3 = 1.49 – 0.5years pre - PHV, G4 = 0.49years pre - to 0.5years post - PHV and G5 = 0.51 – 1.5 years post - PHV. There was no difference in maximal speed between G1, G2 and G3 but those in G4 and G5 were significantly faster ( p < .05) than G1 – 3. Significant increases ( p < .05) in SL were observed between groups with advancing maturation, except G4 and G5 ( p > .05). SF decreased while CT increased (both p < .05) between G1,G2 and G3, but no further significant changes ( p > .05) were observed for either variable between G3, G4 and G5. While G1 – 3 increased their SL, concomitant decreases in SF and increases in CT prevented them from improving maximal speed. Maximal sprint speed appears to develop around and post - PHV as SF and CT begin to stabilize, with increases in maximal sprint speed in maturing boys being underpinned by increasing SL