Background Volleyball is a sport where anthropometric measures strongly influence the level of play.
Objective The aim of our study was to explore the differences in the anthropometric measures in volleyball players among different levels of play.
Design Controlled laboratory study.
Setting Elite national division (competitive).
Participants and methods 301 volleyball player (115 males and 134 females) underwent the anthropometric testing at the Faculty of sport in Ljubljana at the end of competitive season 2006–2007. Players were recruited from Slovenian 1st (49 males, 66 females) and 2nd league (66 males, 68 females). Testing included body height, body mass and 9-site skinfold measurements. Later on body mass index and body composition (percentage fat, lean body mass, somatotyping …) was calculated. Multivariate analysis of variance with correction for age was used to evaluate the differences among different levels of play.
Results On multivariate level the differences among the 1st and 2nd division existed in both sexes (males F=4.41, p=0.0001; females F=2.84, p=0.004). On univariate level the main differences in both sexes were related to the body height (males F=10.92, p=0.01; females 10.20, p=0.002) and lean body mass (males F=14.96, p=0.0002; females 8.13, p=0.005), while in males the differences existed in the bone mass as well (F=4.21, p=0.04).
Conclusions Our results suggest that body height remains the important factor of success in volleyball players. While the body height is genetically determined and virtually impossible to modify, the lean body mass is the modifiable factor that should be regularly monitored and adjusted in volleyball players. Our study offers solid reference values for the anthropometric evaluation of volleyball players.