Exercise and Sport Science
In sports performance assessments, body composition can often be over emphasized by coaches and peers. Currently, there are limited data examining the relationship among measures of body composition and performance in collegiate softball players. Purpose: This study examined the relationships among body composition and athlete performance metrics from a single competitive season in collegiate softball players. Methods: Female student athletes from a Division I, collegiate softball team (n = 13, Age 20.1±1.1 years, Height 169.7±5.3 cm, Body Mass 74.9±10.9 kg, Body Fat%, 27.2±7.3, Fat Free Mass, 53.5±4.6 kg) were analyzed for body composition utilizing a Bod Pod (COSMED USA, INC., Concord, CA). The relationships among measures of body composition (fat free mass percentage (FFM%), body fat percentage (BF%), and body mass (BM) and the athlete’s offensive performance metrics from the 2015 season were examined using Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients (p ≤ 0.05). Offensive performance metrics examined included slugging percentage (SLG%), batting average (BA), on base percentage (OBP), number of hits (H), number of homeruns (HR), runs batting in (RBI), and total bases (TB). Results: There were no statistically significant (p > 0.05) relationships among the body composition measures and offensive performance metrics. The strongest relationships were between FFM% and H (r= 0.47); BM and AVG (r= -0.42); BM and H (r= -0.48); BF% and H (r= -0.51); BF% and TB (r= -0.41). Conclusions: In this sample of collegiate softball players, body composition was not significantly related to offensive performance metrics. Although increased body composition measurements in BM and BF% were shown to have a negative relationship with offensive performance metrics, and increases in FFM% were shown to have an a positive relationship with offensive performance metrics, none of these relationships were statistically significant. Future research should examine this trend beyond one season of offensive performance metrics. It would also be beneficial to examine the body composition relationships and changes based on the athlete’s position and track changes in body composition throughout the athlete’s collegiate career to examine how these changes may affect in-season performance metrics.