Int J Sports Med 2017; 38(12): 902-908
DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-114009
Training & Testing
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Hopping and Landing Performance in Male Youth Soccer Players: Effects of Age and Maturation

Paul J Read1, 2, Jon L. Oliver2, 3, Mark B. A. De Ste Croix4, Gregory D. Myer5, 6, 7, 8, Rhodri S. Lloyd2, 3, 9
  • 1Athlete Health and Performance Research Centre, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  • 2Youth Physical Development Unit, School of Sport, Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK
  • 3Sport Performance Research Institute, New Zealand (SPRINZ), AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand
  • 4School of Sport and Exercise, University of Gloucestershire, UK
  • 5Division of Sports Medicine, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
  • 6Department of Pediatrics and Orthopaedic Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
  • 7The Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention, Boston, MA, USA
  • 8Department of Orthopaedics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  • 9Centre for Sport Science and Human Performance, Waikato Institute of Technology, New Zealand
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision 31 May 2017

Publication Date:
20 September 2017 (eFirst)


Quantifying hopping and landing performances can assist coaches in identifying young male soccer players who may be at increased risk of injury. The influence of chronological age and maturation on these measures in this population is unknown. Single leg hop for distance (SLHD) and 75% horizontal hop and stick landing force (75%Hop) were examined in a cross-sectional sample (N=400) of elite male youth soccer players. Between-group differences for both chronological age (U11–U18) and stage of maturation (pre-, circa- or post-peak height velocity (PHV)) were analyzed. Absolute 75%Hop increased with both age and maturation. Apart from the U18s, pre-PHV and U11–U12 players displayed the greatest relative landing forces compared to all other groups (p<0.001; d=0.56–0.93). Absolute and relative SLHD were greatest in the U18s and post-PHV players (p<0.001; d=0.35–2.04). A trend showed increased SLHD with each consecutive age group although a reduction in performance was identified in the U13s (d=0.50–0.59). High volumes of accumulated soccer participation in the U18s may lead to altered landing strategies indicative of high injury risk. A temporary reduction in hop performance in the U13s may also be linked to a period of adolescent awkwardness.