JOURNAL ARTICLE

Performance changes during a college playing career in NCAA division III football athletes

Jay R Hoffman, Nicholas A Ratamess, Jie Kang
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2011, 25 (9): 2351-7
21747290
The purpose of this study was to compare anthropometric and athletic performance variables during the playing career of NCAA Division III college football players. Two hundred and eighty-nine college football players were assessed for height, body mass, body composition, 1-repetition-maximum (1RM) bench press, 1RM squat, vertical jump height (VJ), vertical jump peak, and vertical jump mean (VJMP) power, 40-yd sprint speed (40S), agility, and line drill (LD) over an 8-year period. All testing occurred at the beginning of summer training camp in each of the seasons studied. Data from all years of testing were combined. Players in their fourth and fifth (red-shirt year) seasons of competition were significantly (p < 0.05) heavier than first-year players. Significant increases in strength were seen during the course of the athletes' collegiate career (31.0% improvement in the 1RM bench press and 36.0% increase in squat strength). The VJ was significantly greater during the fourth year of competition compared to in the previous 3 years of play. Vertical jump peak and VJMP were significantly elevated from years 1 and 2 and were significantly higher during year 4 than during any previous season of competition. No significant changes in 40S or LD time were seen during the athletes playing career. Fatigue rate for the LD (fastest time/slowest time of 3 LD) significantly improved from the first (83.4 ± 6.4%) to second season (85.1 ± 6.5%) of competition. Fatigue rates in the fourth (88.3 ± 4.8%) and fifth (91.2 ± 5.2%) seasons were significantly greater than in any previous season. Strength and power performance improvements appear to occur throughout the football playing career of NCAA Division III athletes. However, the ability to significantly improve speed and agility may be limited.

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