Lauren MacKenzie Starnes, FACSM. Montreat College, Montreat, NC.

BACKGROUND: This study investigated the differences in the physiological components that are desired or trained in athletes based on the sport that they play. The purpose of the study was to determine whether an athlete’s sport of choice influenced their maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max), body fat percentage (BF%), and capabilities to perform. METHODS: 10 collegiate soccer players and 10 collegiate softball players were recruited. All participants had at least 3 training sessions per week. The subject's height and weight were taken before the testing procedures. Participants’ VO2max was predicted via the 1-mile run test. Skinfold measurements were taken from 3 sites: triceps, super iliac and thigh to calculate BF%. The mean values for height, weight, mile time, VO2max, and BF% were calculated for each group. RESULTS: An unpaired T-Test comparing average weight, VO2max and BF% between the groups was conducted. Soccer player average weight (67.14 kg ± 13.48), mile time (9.12 minutes ± 0.93), and BF% (9.10% ± 4.73) were significantly lower (p<0.05) when compared with the softball players average weight (92.99 kg ± 24.43), mile time (12.16 minutes ± 2.54), and BF% (24.87% ± 10.98). Concerning VO2max the soccer group had significantly higher values (30.52 ± 3.62) compared to the softball group (22.83 ± 7.60). CONCLUSION: Soccer athletes have a higher VO2max and a lower BF% than the softball athletes. The study demonstrates the difference in body composition and cardiorespiratory fitness between female collegiate soccer and softball players. This is likely due to their unique training and the specificity in meeting the demands of their sport.

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