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Physiological and Fitness Profile of Female Lacrosse Athletes

MCCLAIN, MARGARET,CATHERINE (2022) Physiological and Fitness Profile of Female Lacrosse Athletes. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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Lacrosse was a Native Americans game that originated long before it was first documented in the 17th century. Its purpose was not only used for religious, medical, and ceremonial purposes, but for fitness and teaching life lessons. Though the men’s game was developed in the mid 1800s, the first women’s lacrosse game was not played until the late 1800s in St. Andrews Scotland as it had previously been deemed inappropriate and too physically demanding for women. Since its start in 1890, the women’s game has changed dramatically. The modern game of lacrosse is characterized as a highly competitive field-based team sport that implements repeated bouts of sprinting and continuous change of direction. In the last four years, women’s lacrosse has undergone rule changes that have fundamentally changed the way the game is played. As such, the aim of this thesis was to highlight how these rule changes have affected the physiological profile of a female lacrosse athlete and if any positional differences could be determined. Nine female lacrosse athletes from a BUCS premier league team participated in a study that measured anthropometrics (stature, body mass, and sum of 8 skinfold thickness), body composition (FFM, FM and BF%) and a battery of fitness tests used to quantify the key elements of lacrosse: speed (36.6 m sprint), agility (pro- agility test), power (CMJ), and endurance (Yo-Yo IR Test Level 1). The participants in this study were taller, heavier, and had more FFM but a higher BF% compared to previous research on the anthropometric and body composition measures of women’s lacrosse athletes. In the physiological testing, the participants had a faster acceleration (9.1 m sprint), but slower agility (pro-agility test) and less explosive power (CMJ height). These measures could reflect a decreased reliance on the anaerobic ATP-PC system and increased reliance on the aerobic energy system because the recent rule changes. Alternatively, these results could be affirming the importance of maintaining a high FFM, low FM, and therefore lower BF%, and its effect on performance. Because of the uneven distribution of positions among participants, no positional differences could be confirmed. It is of note that the midfielders in this thesis had the best overall performance on the physiological testing battery, which supports previous theories about the position. More research should be completed provide a better understanding of the physiological profile of a female lacrosse athlete as well as if positional differences exist considering the recent rule changes.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Science
Keywords:lacrosse, female, women, profile, physiological, fitness, body composition, speed, endurance, agility, power
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Sport and Exercise Sciences, Department of
Thesis Date:2022
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:21 Mar 2022 08:24

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