Change-of-Direction Ability, Linear Sprint Speed, and Sprint Momentum in Elite Female Athletes: Differences Between Three Different Team Sports

J Strength Cond Res. 2022 Jan 1;36(1):262-267. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003857.


Freitas, TT, Pereira, LA, Alcaraz, PE, Comyns, TM, Azevedo, PHSM, and Loturco, I. Change-of-direction ability, linear sprint speed, and sprint momentum in elite female athletes: differences between three different team sports. J Strength Cond Res 36(1): 262-267, 2022-The aim of this study was to compare the performance of elite female players from 3 different sports in linear sprint and change-of-direction (COD) tests and examine their efficiency for changing direction through the calculation of the COD deficit (i.e., the difference in velocity between a linear sprint and a COD task of equal distance). One hundred fifty-four elite players (rugby, n = 40, national team members; soccer, n = 57 and handball n = 57, first division players from the respective Brazilian National Championships) were assessed in the 20-m linear sprint and Zigzag COD tests. A one-way analysis of variance with a Tukey post hoc was used to detect between-sport differences. Female rugby sevens players achieved faster sprint velocities than handball (20-m: 6.21 ± 0.24 m·s-1; 6.07 ± 0.27 m·s-1, respectively; p < 0.05) and soccer players (5-m: 4.71 ± 0.26 m·s-1 vs. 4.51 ± 0.20 m·s-1; and 20-m: 6.08 ± 0.19 m·s-1; p < 0.05) and exhibited the greatest COD deficits (2.95 ± 0.25 m·s-1; 2.69 ± 0.19 m·s-1; 2.82 ± 0.17 m·s-1, for rugby, handball, and soccer, respectively; p < 0.05). Handball players outperformed all other athletes in the Zigzag test (3.38 ± 0.15 m·s-1; 3.26 ± 0.10 m·s-1; 3.26 ± 0.10 m·s-1, for handball, rugby, and soccer, respectively; p < 0.05) but presented the lowest COD deficits (p < 0.05). Furthermore, soccer players displayed inferior sprint momentum when compared with the other sports (p < 0.05). Linear sprint and COD ability differ significantly among elite female athletes from different team sports, with handball players exhibiting a greater COD speed and efficiency to change direction, with respect to their maximum sprint velocity. The between-sport differences observed suggests that specific training and game demands may affect both sprint and COD performance.

MeSH terms

  • Athletes
  • Athletic Performance*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Rugby
  • Running*
  • Soccer*
  • Team Sports