Sunday, 14 Jul 2024

Physique and Body Composition in Soccer Players: Exploring the Impact on Performance

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The role of physique and body composition in soccer performance has been widely acknowledged. However, little research has been conducted on these parameters in adolescent players. Recent studies in adult players have shown that body composition is linked to soccer performance, with differences observed between starters and substitutes, as well as between playing positions.

For example, body mass and fat-free mass (FFM) have been found to be related to the total distance covered by international players [1]. Adult male players typically have a lower percentage of body fat (BF) compared to the general population (10% vs. 16.7% respectively) [2]. Differences in BF have also been observed between female starter players and substitutes (21.8% vs. 24.3% respectively) [3]. In male soccer players, BF, fat mass (FM), and FFM have been found to vary according to playing position [4-6].

Additionally, differences in body composition have been noted between players in different leagues. For instance, players in the first Turkish league were found to be less endomorphic, more mesomorphic, and less ectomorphic than those in the second league [5]. Similarly, players in the first Serbian league were taller and heavier than their counterparts in the third league [7].

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Importantly, there is growing evidence of the impact of body composition on soccer performance during younger ages. Child and adolescent players between the ages of 9 and 14.9 have been found to have significantly lower BF compared to the reference population [8]. Starters players aged 10 to 14 were found to be leaner than substitutes [9]. Variation in body composition according to playing position has also been reported in players between 14 and 21 years of age [10], as well as in players between 16 and 18 years of age, where defenders were characterized by lower BF [11]. Furthermore, successful players between the ages of 14 and 17 were found to be taller, heavier, and leaner than their non-selected counterparts [12].

However, studies on body composition across adolescence have yielded conflicting results. Some studies have reported an increase in BF during this period, while others have reported a decrease. For instance, under-19 players were found to have lower BF and higher FFM compared to under-16 players [13]. On the contrary, a study on French players revealed an increase in BF from 11.5 years to 18 years, along with an increase in FFM [14].

In light of these conflicting findings, further research into body composition fluctuations in adolescent soccer players is necessary. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of age on selected body composition parameters (BF, FM, and FFM) and somatotype across adolescence. Additionally, we sought to compare these parameters in adolescent age groups with child and adult control groups. We examined the hypotheses that there would be no difference between age groups and no association between age and these parameters.

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Q: How important is body composition in soccer performance?
A: Body composition plays a significant role in soccer performance. Parameters such as body fat percentage, fat-free mass, and lean muscle mass have been found to impact various aspects of the game, including endurance, agility, and overall physical ability.

Q: Are there differences in body composition between different playing positions in soccer?
A: Yes, studies have shown that body composition can vary between different playing positions in soccer. For example, defenders often have lower body fat percentage compared to other positions, while midfielders and forwards may have higher muscle mass.

Q: Can body composition change with age in soccer players?
A: Yes, body composition can fluctuate with age in soccer players. Studies have reported both increases and decreases in body fat percentage and fat-free mass during adolescence. The impact of age on body composition may vary depending on individual factors such as training regimen, genetics, and growth patterns.

Q: How can knowledge of body composition benefit soccer players?
A: Understanding one’s body composition can help soccer players tailor their training programs to optimize performance. By monitoring parameters such as body fat percentage and muscle mass, players can establish personalized goals and make targeted adjustments to their diet and exercise routines.


In conclusion, the study of body composition in soccer players is crucial for understanding the impact of physique on performance. While previous research has provided valuable insights, further investigation into body composition across different age groups and playing positions is warranted. By gaining a deeper understanding of these factors, we can enhance training programs and optimize soccer performance at all levels.

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For more information on soccer player statistics and performance analysis, visit Pesstatsdatabase.