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Influence of Age and Maturation on Fitness Development, Trainability And Competitive Performance In Youth Silat

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posted on 2022-10-24, 14:39 authored by Mohamad Nizam Mohamed Shapie


Silat Olahraga, also known as Silat, is a popular combat sport, but little is known about the sports in terms of sport science of physiological demands and characteristics. This is particularly true for the adolescent population, with a dearth of research which explains influence of age and maturation on fitness development, trainability and competitive performance in silat youth. A silat match is characterised by high anaerobic and aerobic metabolic responses. Therefore, specific protocols were developed to analyse the demands of youth silat competition to allow the identification and development of suitable silat sport-specific fitness tests which can be used to track the fitness development and trainability of youth silat performers. In order to determine the 'transference' of fitness to competition, a case study research approach has been used to allow detailed analysis on individual responses and transference of fitness to competition.

Time motion analysis was applied in study one to investigate periods of fight time and break time within rounds of 7 international silat matches. Each match was examined twice using the POWER system in order to test the reliability of the method, which found that 2 rounds with good (0.61 < κ < 0.70) and remaining 19 rounds with very good (κ > 0.81) strength of agreements between observations. It was found that 62.6% of a silat match involved action periods that ranged from under 6 s to over 12 s, with break periods ranging from under 4 s to over 20 s. The information concluded a valid period of mean the duration of fight and break periods in a silat match with a work:rest ratio of 16:8 s.

Notational analysis was applied in study one in order to analyse the detailed activity that occurs during the fight time of a silat match. The Focus X2 system was used to identify 14 different types of silat actions performed by 2 contestants. The majority of attacking actions were kicks (45.1%) and punches (15.6%), while the defensive actions were blocking (10.9%). However, the percentage of punches (82.6%) that successfully hit the target was greater than kicks (12.9%). The findings of this study complement those of the broad work and rest periods in study one. It was concluded that silat was a type of intermittent sport, where kicks were the most frequent actions but punches were relatively more successful.

Study two developed two new silat-specific fitness tests; 20-kick test (mean CV = 6.83%) and 3-directional jump (3DJ) (mean CV’s = 9.00%) which can be used to evaluate athlete’s ability to perform rapid kicking and movement agility. Fitness characteristics of 13 to 16 years male and female silat exponents were then evaluated. Females were significantly more advanced, by about 2 years in the estimated age from peak high velocity (PHV) compared to the males (1.1 ± 0.7 versus -0.9 ± 1.1 y from PHV, p < 0.05), whereas, male exponents outperformed female exponents for most tests. The fitness characteristics of females did not change with age for any variable (all, p > 0.05), while males tended to improve their fitness with advancing age/maturation. Measures of isometric strength (grip strength), upper body power (medicine ball throw) and endurance (push-ups), lower body power (squat-jumps), and endurance (yo-yo test) showed significant (all, p < 0.05) gains after 15 year olds in males. Being involved in silat allowed female participants to maintain their fitness, whereas male participants improved their fitness at or post-PHV suggesting a period of accelerated adaptation. The gender-specific differences were attributed to differing maturational processes and the findings may be useful when devising training programmes to maximise fitness development in youth silat.

The third study examined the effect of age and maturation on 6-weeks of silat specific circuit training on 13 and 16-year-old male silat exponents. The older intervention group (N = 21) demonstrated significant (all, p < 0.05) gains in endurance (566 ± 4 m), squat jump (1.4 ± 0.5 cm) and push-ups (9 ± 1 reps). The younger intervention group (N = 26) also significantly (all, p < 0.05) improved push-up (12 ± 2 reps), together with reactive strength index (RSI) (0.20 ± 0.10) and 3DJ (0.23 ± 0.08 s) performances. Significant (all, p < 0.05) improvements in medicine ball throw were observed in the older (28 ± 18 cm) (N = 14) and younger (34 ± 7 cm) (N = 26) control groups, while the older group also improved grip strength (2.6 ± 2.0 kg). Gains in endurance and squat jump were more pronounced in more mature children and might be associated with hormonal status, while gains in jumps requiring more co-ordination suggest greater neural gains in younger children. Both experimental groups were able to improve push-up performance, suggesting similar local muscular adaptation. Improvements following silat-specific circuit training appear to be age and maturation dependent, while traditional training may be better at improving upper body strength and power.

In study four, 13 and 16-year-old experimental (E13 and E16) and control (C13 and C16) participants were paired and videoed with fighting before and after training. All individuals demonstrated some meaningful improvements in fitness following the intervention period. However, these responses did not necessarily reflect the group finding in study 3. The E13 increased the frequency of kicking during competition post-training, which is suggested to reflect transference of improved fitness to competition. Both E13 and C13 improved the ability to dodge their opponent attacks, likely reflecting a response to technical coaching. The frequency of actions during competition generally decreased for both older participants, suggesting limited fitness transference to competition. Therefore, fitness gains together with technical coaching may transfer to competition in younger exponents, while alterations in strategy may have been more decisive in the older group.

The research presented was original and have furthered knowledge of the responses of adolescents to silat-sports with the influence of age and maturation. The research have provided further insight of physiological demands and characteristics, fitness development and trainability, and also transference fitness into competitive performance in youth silat which may help to facilitate coaches of the demands and requirements of the combat sport.



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