Enter your details:
Thank you for subscribing.
Subscribe to our newsletter!

Nenad Zugaj1, Hrvoje Karnincic2, Mario Baic1

1Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
2Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Split, Split, Croatia

Differences in Motor, Functional, and Sport- Specific Skills in Gifted Wrestlers with Different Acceleration of Biological Development

Sport Mont 2023, 21(1), 117-121 | DOI: 10.26773/smj.230219


It is assumed that the selection of gifted children aged 13-14 years old is dominated by those with accelerated biological development. A better understanding of this problem can greatly improve the selection process for gifted children. The paper aimed to determine the differences in motor, functional, and sport-specific skills between children with different levels of biological acceleration. The study was conducted on a sample of 26 wrestlers aged 13.8±0.74 years old selected from the city of Zagreb. The participants were divided into three groups according to the acceleration of biological development (early maturers, n=9; normal, n=10; late maturers, n=7) and tested with a battery of 10 tests (6 motor, 1 functional, and 3 sport-specific). As was expected, even though there were no differences in experience and placement, the groups differed in all physical characteristics (Kruskal–Wallis ANOVA: age p=0.01; body mass, p<0.01; body height, p<0.01; sitting body height, p<0.01; body mass index, p=0.02). The groups differed significantly in two sport-specific tests and one motor test (Kruskal–Wallis ANOVA: wrestling bridge flexibility p=0.02; flipover p=0.04; medicine ball throw p<0.01). Although these were selected wrestlers, not all of them were classified as early maturers; rather, they were evenly distributed in different groups. We can assume that late maturers had technical–tactical advantages that compensated for the early maturers’ advantage in explosive power. Early maturers were better in terms of explosive power, but the late maturers were better at sport-specific flexibility, as expected.


wrestling, biological age, talented athletes

View full article
(PDF – 99KB)


Albuquerque, M.R., Franchini, E., Lage, G.M., Da Costa, V.T., Costa, I.T., & Malloy-Diniz, L.F. (2015). The Relative Age Effect in Combat Sports: an Analysis of Olympic Judo Athletes, 1964-2012. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 121(1), 300-308. https://doi.org/10.2466/10.PMS.121c15x2

Baxter-Jones, A.D.G., Barbour-Tuck, E.N., Dale, D., Sherar, L.B., Knight, C.J., Cumming, S.P., . . . Humbert, M.L. (2020). The role of growth and maturation during adolescence on team-selection and short-term sports participation. Annals of Human Biology, 47(4), 316-323. https://doi.org/10.1080/03014460.2019.1707870

Brown, K.A., Patel, D.R., & Darmawan, D. (2017). Participation in sports in relation to adolescent growth and development. Translational Pediatrics, 6(3), 150.

Burgess, D.J., & Naughton, G.A. (2010). Talent development in adolescent team sports: A review. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 5(1), 103-116.

Curby, D. (2013). Sunrise to Sunset – Growth, Development & Maturational Issues in the Lifespan of the Wrestler. International Journal of Wrestling Science, 3(2), 58-67. https://doi.org/10.1080/21615667.2013.10878989

de Almeida-Neto, P.F., Neto, R.B., Medeiros, I., de Oliveira, F.C.S., de Oliveira, A.G., de Matos, D.G., . . . Cabral, B. Relative age effect in elite Brazilian athletes in different combat sports: an observational study. Sport Sciences for Health, 1, 9. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11332-022-01007-x

Detanico, D., Kons, R.L., Fukuda, D.H., & Teixeira, A.S. (2020). Physical Performance in Young Judo Athletes: Influence of Somatic Maturation, Growth, and Training Experience. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 91(3), 425-432. https://doi.org/10.1080/02701367.2019.1679334

Faigenbaum, A.D., & Westcott, W.L. (2000). Strength & power for young athletes: Human Kinetics 1.

Franchini, E., Nakamura, F., Takito, M., Kiss, M.A.P., & Sterkowicz, S. (1998). Specific fitness test developed in Brazilian judoists. Biology of sport, 15(3), 165-170.

Franchini, E., Schwartz, J., & Takito, M.Y. (2020). Maximal isometric handgrip strength in judo athletes from different age groups. Sport Sciences for Health, 16(1), 93-98. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11332-019-00577-7

vHorswill, C.A. (1992). Applied physiology of amateur wrestling. Sports Medicine, 14(2), 114-143.

Işik, Ö., Doğan, İ., Cİcİoğlu, H., & Yildirim, İ. (2017). A new approach to Special Judo Fitness Test index: relative index. Journal of Human Sciences, 14(4).

Karninčić, H., Baić, M., & Sprem, D. (2017). Optimal Age to Begin with Greco-Roman Wrestling and Reach Peak Performance Trends in Cases of World-Class Medal Winners of Various Weight Groups. Paper presented at the Conference Applicable Research in Wrestling. Novi Sad. Srbija.

Kuleš, B., & Marić, J. (2001). Validity of some situation-related motor tests for the assessment of technical efficiency of wrestlers. Kinesiology, 33(1), 37-47.

Malina, R.M., Reyes, M.E.P., Figueiredo, A.J., e Silva, M.J.C., Horta, L., Miller, R., . . . Morate, F. (2010). Skeletal age in youth soccer players: implication for age verification. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 20(6), 469-474.

Malina, R.M., Reyes, M.P., Eisenmann, J., Horta, L., Rodrigues, J., & Miller, R. (2000). Height, mass and skeletal maturity of elite Portuguese soccer players aged 11–16 years. Journal of Sports Sciences, 18(9), 685-693.

Manna, I. (2014). Growth development and maturity in children and adolescent: relation to sports and physical activity. American Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 2(5A), 48-50.

Marković, M., Kukić, F., Dopsaj, M., Kasum, G., Toskic, L., & Zaric, I. (2021). Validity of a Novel Specific Wrestling Fitness Test. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 35, S51-S57.

Milić, M. (2014). Međupozicijske i unutarpozicijske razlike mladih odbojkašica u nekim antropološkim obilježjima. University of Split. Faculty of Kinesiology,

Mirwald, R.L., Baxter-Jones, A.D., Bailey, D.A., & Beunen, G.P. (2002). An assessment of maturity from anthropometric measurements. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 34(4), 689-694.

Mirzaei, B. (2021). Development of the Elite Wrestling Athlete. International Journal of Wrestling Science, 11(1), 11.

Nikolaïdis, P. (2012). Development of isometric muscular strength in adolescent soccer players. Facta universitatis-series: Physical Education and Sport, 10(3), 231-242.

Ostojic, S.M. (2017). Maturational advantage of early maturers in youth sport. Medicina Dello Sport, 70(2), 186-190. https://doi.org/10.23736/s0025-7826.17.03105-2

Ostojic, S.M., Castagna, C., Calleja-González, J., Jukic, I., Idrizovic, K., & Stojanovic, M. (2014). The biological age of 14-year-old boys and success in adult soccer: do early maturers predominate in the top-level game? Research in Sports Medicine, 22(4), 398-407.

Piskin, I.E., Gumus, M., Bayraktaroglu, T., Akalin, T. C., & Yamaner, F. (2018). Growth and pubertal development in adolescent male wrestlers. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 58(6), 852-856. https://doi.org/10.23736/s0022-4707.17.07269-3

Rađa, A., Erceg, M., & Milić, M. (2016). Differences in certain dimensions of anthropological status of young soccer players of different chronological, biological and training age. Sport Science, 9, 60-63.

Roemmich, J.N., & Sinning, W.E. (1997). Weight loss and wrestling training: Effects on nutrition, growth, maturation, body composition, and strength. Journal of Applied Physiology, 82(6), 1751-1759. https://doi.org/10.1152/jappl.1997.82.6.1751

Rogol, A.D., Clark, P.A., & Roemmich, J. N. (2000). Growth and pubertal development in children and adolescents: effects of diet and physical activity. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 72(2), 521S-528S.

Said Abdel-Hakim, T. (2015). A Study of the Relationship Between Some Special Physical Abilities and the Performance Effectiveness of Under Arm Hold to Throw Over the Back Movement for Junior Wrestlers. Journal of Applied Sports Science, 5(1), 129-135.

Starosta, W., Fostiak, D., & Zurek, P. (2017). Level of kinaesthetic differentiation of movement amplitude in polish national team wrestlers in various training stages. Applicable Research in Wrestling, 208.

Thomas, C.H., Oliver, J., Kelly, A., & Knapman, H. (2017). A pilot study of the demands of chronological age group and bio-banded match play in elite youth soccer. Graduate Journal of Sport, Exercise & Physical Education Research, 5(S1), 211.

University of Saskatchewan, College of Kinesiology (2021). Prediction of Age of Peak Height Velocity. Retrieved 12/10, 2021, from https://wwwapps.usask.ca/kin-growthutility/phv_ui.php.