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3. MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES, Sport and fitness sciences


The aim of the current study was to identify the specific differences in anthropometric and performance profiles between elite and sub-elite hurling players with respect to position and level of play. One hundred and thirty-seven (n = 137) hurlers at the elite (n = 61) and sub-elite (n = 76) level completed a series of anthropometric [height, body mass, the sum of seven skinfolds, adipose tissue percentage estimates (%AT), fat-free mass estimations (FFM)) and performance ((countermovement jump height (CMJ), CMJ peak power (CMJ PP), CMJ relative peak power (CMJ RPP), acceleration (5, 10 and 20 m), and yo-yo intermittent recovery test level 1 (Yo-Yo IRT1)) assessments during the “early in-season” phase of the competition. Data were categorized into positions at both levels (full-backs, half-backs, midfielders, half-forwards, full-forwards). Multiple two-way ANOVA’s were performed to determine the effect of two fixed factors (level and position) on several anthropometric and performance variables. Elite level players had a significantly lower sum of seven skinfolds across all positions compared to the sub-elite (η 2 = 0.441, large). At half-back, half-forward, and fullforward elite players had significantly lower %AT (η 2 = 0.087–0.167, small–medium) and greater FFM (η 2 = 0.040–0.065, small). Jump performance assessment showed elite players performed significantly better across all positions for CMJ (η 2 = 0.526, large), CMJ PP (η 2 = 0.385, large) and CMJ RPP (η 2 = 0.520, large). When Yo-Yo IRT1 was considered, elite players completed an increased distance than the sub-elite across all positions (η 2 = 0.526, large). The current data are the first to show differences in positional anthropometric and performance profiles between standards of play within hurling. Applied practitioners should consider these normative data when implementing training programs to maximize position-specific preparation for competition. Furthermore, these data could improve the considerations regarding the transitioning of players from the sub-elite to the elite level of play.