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




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. 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