Journal article Open Access
This study examined relationships between the components of physical fitness and athletic performance in youth pole-vaulters in a secondary school setting. Twenty-five adolescents of both genders, between the ages of 15 and 18, participated in the study. This case study was grounded on qualitative and quantitative approaches of data analysis, measuring physical abilities self-assessment based on the questionnaire developed by Borg et al.  and measuring high-performance effect linking age and gender with the levels of the pole vault performance. The results indicate that, overall, the six dimensions of fitness (coordination, strength, flexibility, speed, endurance, and body self-image) are correlated with physical fitness (r varies between 0.29 and 0.65, p<0.05). The significance is very high in teenage boys for perceived strength and perceived endurance respectively (r=0.61, p <0.001 and r=0.65, p<0.001), whereas in teenage girls global physical fitness is highly correlated with endurance (r=0.63, p<0.001). Moreover, while endurance and flexibility have become a determinant of performance in the girl group in the perceived physical fitness category, strength and perceived speed are the most important components in the boy group. An effect of age was only considered for strength, endurance and perceived fitness. No effect of body self-image on pole vault performance was identified, with non-significant correlation in the two genders, girls and boys respectively (r=0.11, r=0.16). The significant role of physical fitness levels in determining motor exercise performance in adolescence may have further implications for gender roles and talent prospecting as well as potential physical condition benefits for exploring new sports.