The morphological age and weighted evaluation of the neuromuscular qualities of the young player

Authors: Congedo Piero, Primo Andrea, Arienti Matteo, Galli Fabio, Gai Alessandro, Manganiello Paolo, Marinoni Dario, Micheletti Elio, Santoro Francesco, Ventura Manuel.

Leonardo da Vinci Institute, Cologno Monzese, Milan, Italy

Corresponding Author:
Primo Andrea
Leonardo da Vinci Institute, Cologno Monzese, Milan, Italy. –

Congedo Piero – master’s degree in Sports Sciences and Techniques and training of SUISM Torino; D.E.S.S. in Entrainment et Management sportif UFRSTAPS de Dijon (France). Head of physical performance at the Lugano Football Club youth sector. From 1991 to 2016 he was an athletic trainer at the Ac Milan youth sector. In 2016 responsible for the preparation of the 1st team at Palermo Calcio (Serie A). Determine the MA (Morphological Age) in order to get closer to the biological age of the young player; weighting of test performance results; trace the evolution of jumping, acceleration and agility skills between the ages of 7 and 17.

Primo Andrea – Degree in Mathematics at “Università degli Studi di Milano” obtained in 2001 Mathematical methods applied through networking techniques and economical and financial applications. Data analyst, time series, big data.

The morphological age and weighted evaluation of the neuromuscular qualities of the young player


This study aims to answer some questions concerning the aspects relating to the anthropometric and neuromuscular evaluation of the young football player.
Objectives: The points on which we try to clarify are: 1- seek an indirect criterion for determining the biological age that complements and integrates the one most, to date, adopted proposed in 2002 by Mirwald et al. (22), based on the determination of PHV and APHV, since this would seem quite reliable with subjects with normal maturation but not so much when they are late or early; 2- determine for each chronological age and for each of the tests used in the study the Gold Standard Range Improvement (GSRI) expected to know if, basically, a detected improvement can be considered Regular Improvement, i.e. attributable to the normal physical maturation process rather than Irregular Improvement, that is attributable to other factors such as training; 3-identify the ABAEI (Age Best Average Expected Improvement) of jumping ability (CMJF), 20m sprint ability and agility ability to verify the actual presence of one or more favourable moments, between 7 and 17 years , where it is easier to achieve significant improvement; 4- provide a sufficiently reliable method to interpret the results of the neuromuscular tests considered in the study without these being influenced by the degree of maturation; 5- understand if the selection criteria adopted, in a professional context such as the one we have observed, tend to favour individuals with early maturation.
Materials and methods: A sample of 827 footballers aged 7-17 and belonging to the youth sector of a professional Swiss super league club, was subjected to a longitudinal analysis, relating to some anthropometric measures (weight, height, chronological age, BMI) together with the results of three field tests (CMJF, sprint on 20m and agility). For the indirect determination of the biological age, a model was developed with which to calculate the morphological age on young players who train regularly, therefore on average thin, normal weight, starting from the measurement (twice a year) of weight, height, chronological age and BMI.
Results: From the analysis of the data, it emerged that the observed sample was found to be on average early since it reached PHV at least one year earlier than what is reported in the literature by Parizkova in 1976 and Malina et al. in 1999 (19,13). In the 7–17-year period, the average performance improvement of each of the tests administered was significant and constant (2.8% -12.8% for CMJF; 2.2% -6.4% agility; 2.02% -6.48% sprint 20m). However, CMJF and sprint 20m provided the same ABAEI (8-9 years) while for agility the ABAEI seems to coincide with the 9–10-year period. The GSRI was calculated for each age and for each of the tests considered in order to provide field technicians with a reference range that allows them to check whether the improvement obtained by their children can be classified as Regular or Irregular Improvement.
Conclusion: The analysis of the results allows us to make some interesting considerations: first, there is a tendency to favour subjects with early maturation. Starting from simple anthropometric measures, it is possible to calculate a further indirect indicator of maturation, the here proposed morphological age. Since this together with the determination of the PHV can help us to approach the biological maturation of young players and to weight the test results in relation to the degree of maturation. Finally, the ability to jump acceleration on 20m and agility naturally improve during the whole period 7-17 even if with differences depending on the age. While for the CMJF and for the agility there are no evident variations in the percentage of improvement, for the acceleration capacity the period between 8-11 years and that between 14-16 years seem to be more sensitive to improvement.

Keywords: biological maturity, young player, morphological age, quality neuromuscular, sensitive phases, performance improvement, weighting of results, data anthropometric, agility, cmjf, sprint 20m