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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 107-114

An analysis of physical performance parameters among university netball and volleyball female players

1 Department of Physical Therapy, College of Applied Medical Sciences, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Secondary and Sports Science Education, College of Education and Humanities, Fiji National University, Lautoka Campus, Lautoka, Fiji

Date of Submission19-Oct-2021
Date of Acceptance03-Nov-2021
Date of Web Publication13-Dec-2021

Correspondence Address:
Mohammad Feroz Ali
Department of Secondary and Sports Science Education, College of Humanities and Education, Fiji National University, Lautoka Campus
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjsm.sjsm_29_21

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to analyse netball and volleyball players for differences in physical performance parameters among female university players.
Materials and Methods: Twenty-eight female participants (14 netball + 14 volleyball players) participated in this study voluntarily. Any player with lower extremity musculoskeletal injury or a record since the last three months was excluded from the study. The average age of players was 19.54±0.69 years, body weight 52.99±10.51 kg., height 156.71±5.34 cm., and body mass index 21.57±4.09. Anthropometrical characteristics were measured with the help of a bioelectrical impedance analyser, while physical performance parameters (Muscular endurance, lower extremity power, dynamic stability, agility, speed) were determined by the numerous functional tests.
Results: No statistically significant differences were found in physical performance parameters except agility (p=.041) and speed (p=.015) variables between netball and volleyball university female students. A significant positive relationship was also found in some of the physical performance parameters irrespective of the sports.
Conclusion: The study's findings show that physical performance parameters do not differ significantly in female netball and volleyball players. Team coaches and physiologists must consider functional test outcomes while preparing players for competition. The individual training program should also be established on test outcomes, which is more likely to improve performance.

Keywords: Agility, basal metabolic rate (BMR), dynamic stability, muscular endurance, power, speed, total body water (TWB)

How to cite this article:
Ahsan M, Ali MF. An analysis of physical performance parameters among university netball and volleyball female players. Saudi J Sports Med 2021;21:107-14

How to cite this URL:
Ahsan M, Ali MF. An analysis of physical performance parameters among university netball and volleyball female players. Saudi J Sports Med [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Jul 6];21:107-14. Available from: https://www.sjosm.org/text.asp?2021/21/3/107/332396

  Introduction Top

Netball and volleyball are two of the most popular female-oriented sports in Fiji. Netball and volleyball are high-intensity, intermittent sports that demand players to participate in short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by intervals of low-intensity action. Both sports demanded certain similar traits and capabilities to achieve top performance. In essence, both sports demand precise body morphology (height, weight, and body composition) and specific respiratory (heart rate) and cardiovascular performance to be successful.[1],[2] These games also require the performance of explosive anaerobic movements (repeated jumping, sprinting, turning, cutting, acceleration and deceleration) while receiving, throwing, spiking, and blocking a ball.[3] In addition to the parameters as described above, physical strength, power, dynamic stability, flexibility, agility, and speed are the fundamental parameters underlying performance in both sports.[2],[3],[4] Physical performance is a prerequisite in netball and volleyball to allow players to consistently cover the perimeter of the court, performing at various skills and abilities throughout the game.[4]

The anthropometric characteristics and physical performance parameters have been explored in many investigations. Many sports scientists have hypothesized that players might be expected to exhibit morphological and physical performance characteristics that are specifically favorable for their particular sports.[5] Lorenz et al. suggested that physical performance attributes, including anthropometric characteristics, such as weight, height, and body fat percentage, are seemingly little sensitive in identifying future performance in team-based ballplayers.[1]

Research of physical performance characteristics in volleyball demonstrated variations in maximal strength of leg extensors, trunk flexors, and extensor muscles did not exhibit significant differences in vertical jump ability among highly trained volleyball players.[6] A study on the physical performance profile of national netball players showed that the data from different playing positions revealed that defensive players have more leg power, leg strength, and sprint ability. At the same time, center players demonstrated greater anaerobic and aerobic capacity and agility than players in other positions.[7] A study evaluates the physical, physiological, and performance characteristics of volleyball players at different levels and found that national-level players had significantly higher levels of block and spike jumps, VO2 max, and 20-m speed, indicating that physiological capacities play an essential role in the selection and preparation of elite volleyball players.[8] International databases suggested that all players constantly execute repeated high-intensity movement patterns as jumping, shuffling, sprinting, and running. As a result, it appears that the ability to produce recurrent high-intensity bouts and combat fatigue are critical aspects in netball and volleyball performance.[9] Furthermore, due to rigorous competition demands and increasing tactical play strategies, assessing physiological, anthropometric, and physical performance variations among netball and volleyball players is of utmost relevance, leading to further specialization of games.[10]

Therefore, the objective of this research was to investigate the anthropometric characteristics and physical performance parameters of university netball and volleyball female players. Coaches, physical therapists, sports medicine, strength, and conditioning professionals may identify performance barriers or injury risks during sports participation by identifying physical and functional deficiencies in movement using anthropometric characteristics and physical performance parameters separately or in combination.

  Materials and Methods Top

Experimental design

An experimental study design was used to evaluate the performance abilities of university netball and volleyball female players.

Sampling technique

The probability sampling technique was chosen to conduct this research. General information regarding the research was imparted to all players. Only those participants who wanted to participate voluntarily and fill all the inclusion and exclusion criteria were selected.


Twenty-eight female participants voluntarily (14 netball players and 14 volleyball players) participated in this study. Fourteen participants in one group were considered sufficient to demonstrate a relationship between the two groups with adequate power (80% at P ≤ 0.05).[11] All the participants were university players and had 3 years of experience playing at this level. Before the investigation, all participants explained the purpose of the study and the associated experimental risks during the investigation. Upon their verbal agreement, they signed a written informed consent form. The average age of the players was 19.54 ± 0.69 years, body weight 52.99 ± 10.51 kg, height 156.71 ± 5.34 cm, and body mass index (BMI) 21.57 ± 4.09. Any player with lower extremity musculoskeletal injury or a record since the last 3 months was excluded from the study.


Anthropometric measurements

Stadio-cum-weighing scale was used to measure height. BMI and percentage of body fat (PBF) were determined by using bioelectric impedance analysis Tanita i010-BIA.

Muscular endurance test

Muscular endurance was determined by using sit-ups and push-ups. The maximum number of repetitions in 1 min for sit-ups and push-ups were used to score.

Abdominal muscle endurance was measured with knee-bent sit-ups. To perform sit-ups, participants were requested to lie on their back with knees bent, put the fingertips on the back of years, lift the torso as close to the thigh as possible, then lower torso down to the floor as stating a position. The sit-ups were continued as many times as feasible without rest within 1 min. The score was the number of correct sit-ups performed in 1 min.[12] Upper body (arm and shoulder) muscular endurance was determined by push-ups. The participant was asked to lie face down on the floor with hands-on shoulder-width apart and knees to perform push-ups. Raise the body of the floor by extending arms and lower down body till the breast touch the floor. The push-ups were continued as many times as feasible without rest. The score was the number of correct push-ups performed in 1 min.[12]

Explosive power

The explosive power of lower extremities was determined by the double-leg vertical squat jump test. The participant stood next to the Vertec and was instructed to extend her arm and touch the highest vane possible with one hand whiles she stood firmly on the ground. This height was recorded as the stance height. Participants jumped with both extremities and touched the highest possible vane. Each participant made three attempts, and the average was recorded. The difference between the standing reach height and the maximum jump height was used to calculate the maximum vertical jump and converted to lower leg muscle explosive power.[13]

Dynamic stability

Dynamic stability was measured using Y Balance Test (YBT). The YBT is a functional test developed to measure dynamic stability in three directions: anterior, posterolateral, and posteromedial. The YBT has an excellent level of interrater test–retest reliability (ICC = 0.80–0.85).[14] The YBT test was performed for the participant to stand barefoot on the center platform and await further instructions from the researcher. While standing on a single leg, participants were instructed to reach with a free leg in the anterior direction three times, followed by the posterolateral direction, then the posteromedial direction three times. The maximal reach distance was recorded in all trials. A trial was discarded and repeated if the participant lost his balance, lifted his heel off the platform, and took any support. The sum of maximal reach distance in each direction was divided by three trails to yield an absolute reach distance, which was used to analyze the overall performance of the YBT test. For further data analysis, the scores of dominant legs were used.[14]

Flexibility test

The sit and reach test was used to determine the lower back and hamstring flexibility. A standard sit and reach box (40 cm × 40 cm × 34.5 cm.) was used to conduct the test. A scale was fixed on the top of the box. The participants were seated on the floor with their knees completely extended, shoulder width apart, and their feet in a dorsiflexion position. The participants steadily reach forward as far as possible with one hand on the top of the other, holding the position for 3 s. The average score of three trials was used. The distance was measured in centimeters.[15]

Agility test

The agility was determined by the Illinois agility run test that Getchell developed in 1979.[16] The test was conducted in the 10 m × 5 m marked area using eight cones. Four cones were used to mark the start, turning, and finished points. Another four cones were placed in the center with an equal 3.3-m distance apart. The participant was asked to lie down in front of starting cone. On the command GO, the participant gets up as quickly and runs forward 10 m, 10 m back, then runs zigzag 10 m around four cones, and then runs 10 m again forward and back toward the finishing cone. Time (in second) was recorded from start to end of the run.[16]

Speed test

The speed of the participant was determined by a 40-m dash test. This test is a reliable indicator of speed, agility, and acceleration. To conduct this test, 40-m marked floor, cones, stopwatch, and measuring tape were required. This test consists of a single maximum sprint over a distance of 20 m. The participant should provide maximum speed to complete this test. The average of two trails time (in second) to complete the 20-m distance was recorded.[5],[17]

Prior to every test, participants were allowed to do general as well as a specific warm-up. Every test was conducted with the standardize protocols.

Statistical analysis

All statistical analyses were performed using IBM SPSS (Version 21.0, Armonk, NY). Prior to analysis, the data were checked for missing data, outliers, normality with the Shapiro–Wilk test, and homoscedasticity with Bartlett criterion. All parameters' data showed normal distribution and homoscedasticity. Student t-test was performed to identify significant differences in age, height, weight, BMI, and PBF for university netball and volleyball female players. Student's t-test was also applied to find significant differences in muscle endurance (upper and lower body), explosive power, dynamic stability, flexibility, agility, and speed for netball and volleyball players. A Pearson correlation coefficient test was also performed to determine the relationships between all physical performance parameters. The P-level 0.05 was used to determine statistical significance differences, and P-level 0.001 was used to determine the relationship between physical performance parameters.

  Results Top

[Table 1] shows that there were no significant differences between netball and volleyball players' anthropometric characteristics in terms of age (P = 0.791), body weight (P = 0.367), height (P = 0.922), BMI (P = 0.679), and PBF (P = 0.838).
Table 1: Participant's anthropometric characteristics

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[Table 2] shows no significant differences in muscle endurance (upper and lower body), explosive power, dynamic stability, flexibility, agility, and speed for netball and volleyball players. We can assume that the data for selected parameters were normally distributed, and further analysis was done using the parametric test.
Table 2: Normality test for physical performance parameters of netball and volleyball players

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[Table 3] shows that there were no significant differences for muscle endurance (upper body) (t = 1.046, P = 0.305), muscular endurance (lower body) (t = 1.690, P = 0.103), power (t = 0.682, P = 0.501), and dynamic stability (t = 1.630, P = 0.115), whereas significant difference existed between agility (t = −2.152, P = 0.041) and speed (t = −2.617, P = 0.015) in between netball players and volleyball players at the significant level 0.05.
Table 3: Descriptive statistics and Student's t-test for physical performance parameters of netball and volleyball players

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[Table 4] shows that netball and volleyball players have a positive relationship for all the parameters except agility and speed. Muscle endurance (upper body) was positively related (r = 0.237, P = 0.224) with muscle endurance (lower body), power (r = 0.587, P = 0.001), dynamic stability (r = 0.145, P = 0.461), and flexibility (r = 0.607, P = 0.001). Muscle endurance (lower body) was positively related (r = 0.201, P = 0.305) with power, whereas negatively related with dynamic stability (r = −0.151, P = 0.444) and flexibility (r = −0.084, P = 0.669). Power is positively related (r = 0.202, P = 0.302) (r = 0.283, P = 0.144). Dynamic stability was negatively related (r = −0.045, P = 0.819). Negatively relationship has been found for agility and speed parameters with all other parameters. A significant relationship has been found between muscle endurance and power, flexibility, agility, and speed. Power is significantly related to agility. Flexibility was significantly related to speed. These significant relationships have existed at the 0.001 level of significance.
Table 4: Relationship between physical performance parameters between netball and volleyball players

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  Discussion Top

The purpose of this study was to determine the differences and relationships among physical performance parameters (muscle endurance of the upper and lower body, power, dynamic stability, flexibility, agility, and speed) for university female netball and volleyball players. The muscle endurance for the upper body was found 42.54 ± 3.75 in netball players, 40.24 ± 4.17 in volleyball players. The muscle endurance for the lower body was found 28.62 ± 3.48 in netball players and 24.04 ± 5.21 in volleyball players. The power of lower leg muscles was 1689.50 ± 134.33 W in netball players and 1658.00 ± 108.67 W in volleyball players. The dynamic stability test scores were 87.57 ± 6.87 in netball players, 88.69 ± 6.91in volleyball players. The flexibility of hamstring and back muscles was 21.50 ± 5.68 cm for netball players and 18.21 ± 4.96 cm for volleyball players. The agility was 18.37 ± 1.14 s for netball players and 17.57 ± 0.78 s for volleyball players. The 50 m dash's speed was 3.66 ± 0.42 s for netball players and 3.31 ± 0.28 s for volleyball players. According to the independent sample test findings, there were insignificant differences between university female netball and volleyball players for muscle endurance (upper and lower body), power, dynamic stability, and flexibility. At the same time, the significant difference between university female netball and volleyball players for agility and speed has been seen. This significant difference existed due to the nature of the game. In comparing all players regardless of their sport, a positive relationship was also evident among muscle endurance (upper and lower body), power, dynamic stability, and flexibility. A negative relationship was also apparent for agility and speed with all other parameters.

In the present study, upper body endurance has been determined by the number of push-ups in 1 min, executed correctly by netball and volleyball players. The average number of push-ups performed for this study has been 43 for netball players and 40 for volleyball players, the mean difference being insignificant. Upper body endurance is vital for both game players to produce enough endurance to pass the ball or set the ball frequently to their teammates. When compared with the elite players, this study players fall into intermediate performance level. Previous research has shown that the sit-up test can be used to assess and maintain muscle endurance. While performing pull-ups, it is challenging to maintain proper posture for insignificant individuals due to the increased gravitational force of the trunk.[18] Mac Colloway revealed that lower extremities and upper body endurance are the essential training required by volleyball players. He stressed that endurance is achieved by the simultaneous reaction of hip, knee, and ankle, with the abdominal and lower back support.[19] Juker et al. found that both sit-ups and push-ups require a significant amount of abdominal muscles activities.[20] Participants who perform poorly on one test are likely to perform poorly on the other.[21] Our study also showed a positive relationship between upper and lower body muscle endurance with no significant differences.

In the current study, the explosive power was determined by performing the vertical jump. The average vertical jump performance was 1689.50 W for netball players, while the average performance of volleyball players was 1658.00 W. The mean differences were insignificant. A vertical jump is an assessment tool with the capacity for rapid force development during a purely concentric movement alone.[22] Vertical jump performance appeared to be associated with success in volleyball competitions. One study suggests that a “critical height” above the net is most beneficial for blocking and spiking. Players who can reach this limit have an advantage over those who cannot.[23] Similarly, when netball players lack explosive power, they cannot hold the ball when they jump up or leap forward to catch an incoming ball.[24] Jump power is a demanded gesture in netball and volleyball that requires better coordination and jumping ability, particularly muscular power related to neuromuscular coordination.[25]

In the present study, dynamic stability has been determined by the YBT executed by netball and volleyball players. The absolute reach distance in netball players was 88.69 and in volleyball players was 87.57. The mean difference was insignificant for dynamic stability. Dynamic stability is an essential component in players, especially the ability to land after a jump. Stability is the central aspect needed for the volleyball and netball players. Players learn to control their gravity center while receiving the ball, spike, block, pass, and shot. Players learn to control their center of gravity and line of gravity while receiving the ball, spike, block, pass, and shot. The dynamic stability and muscular strength help to stabilize immediately after landing from receiving the ball, spike, block, and shot that may reduce the risk of knee and ankle damage in volleyball players.[26],[27] The findings of Oliver and Di Breeze suggested that balance training decreases injuries among players.[28] Gouttebarge et al. suggested that stability exercises were considered as preventing training programs.[29] A stable posture leads to better stability, which decreases the incidence of lower-limb injuries.[30] According to Willson et al., there is a positive relationship between stability and lower limb injuries.[31] Therefore, we can say that netball players were more prone to injury than volleyball players.

In the current study, flexibility was determined by the sit and reach test. The mean score of the sitting and reach test has been 21.50 for netball players and 18.21 for volleyball players. Netball players were more flexible than volleyball players. The mean difference was insignificant between netball and volleyball players for flexibility. In netball and volleyball, players flick in forward, sideways, and downward direction; thus hip and back flexibility is out most important. Flexibility allows greater freedom and ease of movement with the critical association for more safety from injuries. Our findings are similar to Duncan et al., they found that the mean values for sit and reach test for national volleyball players were 23, which has been almost similar to our findings.[32] Lee et al. found that the sit and reach test positively correlates with a vertical jump; our results also contradict their findings.[33]

In the present study, agility was measured by the Illinois agility run test. The mean score of agility was 17.57 and 18.37 for netball and volleyball players, respectively. The mean score showed that netball players have better agility than volleyball players. The mean differences between netball and volleyball players were significant. The athlete's ability to perform quick movements, stop, and start quickly while focusing on an opponent or the ball is critical to their success. Mayes agrees and states that for peak performance, fast footwork and movement patterns, quick reactions, and expert predetermined decision-making make agility performance crucial in netball. Brukner and Khan express that agility can be improved and modified by implementing specific training; therefore, developing specific programs to prevent and reduce musculoskeletal injuries in netball is crucial.[34] A comparative study of agility and strength between 60 players male basketball and netball players was conducted. 4 m × 10 m shuttle run test for agility was used. The study found that basketball players had higher agility and strength compared to netball players.[35] The distance that a volleyball player needs to cover in a volleyball match is typically <5 m, so it is reasonable to assume that a change of direction over a distance of fewer than 5 m would differentiate between playing ability. A comparative study was conducted on selected motor performance parameters between basketball and volleyball player using the 10 × 4 shuttle run test for agility and the 50-m dash run test for speed ability. The study concluded that basketball players had more agility and speed than volleyball players.[36] A study was conducted to compare various performance attributes of adolescent badminton and volleyball players. Pull-ups, push-ups, 4 × 10 shuttle run test, 50-m run, and 600-m run were used to measure muscle strength, muscular endurance, speed, cardiovascular endurance, and significant difference in agility. Except for the muscular strength component, the badminton players were slightly better than the volleyball players in all other components such as muscular endurance, agility, speed, and cardiovascular endurance.[37]

In the current study, speed was determined by the 20-m run test. The mean score of the speed test was 3.31 s and 3.66 s for netball and volleyball players, respectively. The data showed that netball players were better than volleyball players for speed tests. No statistically significant difference was found between netball players and volleyball players for the speed test. A comparative study was conducted on selected motor performance parameters between basketball and volleyball players using the 50-m dash run test for speed. The study concluded that basketball players had higher performance ability in terms of speed than volleyball players.[36] A study was conducted to compare various performance attributes of adolescent badminton and volleyball players. A 50-m run test was chosen to measure speed. The study found that badminton players were slightly better than volleyball players in speed and other components.[37] Pauole et al. reported low to moderately significant correlations (P = 0.05) between the t-test for agility and a 40-yard dash test for speed sprint (r = 0.73 for females) and a vertical jump (r = 20.55 for females).[38] Our study also showed a significant difference between netball and volleyball players, whereas negative relationships with other parameters were noted.

The potential practical implication of the data presented in this study also highlighted some limitations when performing functional tests to measure players' performance. Primarily, the sports-specific differences in anthropometric and body composition parameters should be taken into account. Secondary, functional tests (sit-ups, pull-ups, vertical jump, YBT, sit and reach, Illinois agility, 20-meter dash) should be used with great caution regarding evaluating netball and volleyball players' performance. Types of sports (indoor or outdoor) should be considered when generalizing the finding of this study. The correlation coefficient and statistical power are inevitably affected by the number of participants and the variables selected. However, the influence of participant selection should be considered in experimental design studies. The influence of injury history, number of years, and level of play could be additional confounding variables.

  Conclusion Top

Based on the results of this study, we conclude that such information can be helpful for team supervisors, coaches, and trainers to identify talent, select players, and plan specific training programs that correctly consider the anthropometric characteristics and physical performance parameters. An individual training program should also be based on the outcome of the functional testing; it is more likely to lead to improved performance. Further research should investigate the role of anthropometric characteristics and physical performance parameters in performance outcomes.


We are very grateful to the Dean and Head of the Department of Secondary and Sports Science Education, College of Education and Humanities, Fiji National University, Fiji, for giving their permission to conduct this research. Besides that, we also express our gratitude to all netball and volleyball players who participated in this study.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]


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