"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Does the AFL's ban on skinfold testing avoid fat shaming – or has footy gone 'soft'?

It was perhaps unsurprising from some sections of the sports media when it was revealed that the AFL Removing body composition checks (including skinfold testing) in its junior (under 18) talent pathways system, soon after the league moved Stop publishing player weights..

“The world has gone mad,” said former Essendon champion Matthew Lloyd, during his former playing and training profession. Paul Ross said: “It's just ridiculous … that [skinfold tests] They are so trivial, it seems ridiculous to hold them.”

So is that this an indication that AFL players have “gone soft”, or is there a superb reason?

Player Weight – Public or Private?

Athletes, like anyone else, have a right to privacy about personal information akin to their weight. By now not publishing player weights, the AFL goals to respect player privacy and promote a more confidential approach to sensitive information.

Publishing athletes' weights can also contribute to a culture that emphasizes body image, potentially pressuring some athletes to keep up a certain physique and potentially Affecting mental health and self-esteem.

It is vital to grasp the underlying philosophy of the AFL's body composition policies is to “first, do no harm” – which goals to advertise positive outcomes for all individuals. So if keeping an athlete's weight private helps some athletes who could have body image concerns, even in the event that they're a minority, it's well worth the change.

Some critics have argued that knowing a player's weight may help from a performance perspective – coaches, observers and even fans can compare player matchups to gauge performance outcomes and talents. . But the effect of weight on football performance is unclear.

Also, most AFL players will let you know that their published weights haven’t been updated since they were drafted, and are due to this fact unlikely to be accurate. .

What about skinfold testing?

The AFL's decision to stop skinfold testing in junior talent pathways is for a similar reasons – prioritizing player health and fitness.

Skinfold testing It involves measuring the thickness of fat at various points on the body with calipers.

It has been an old a part of football culture. Within an AFL club, these tests have historically been carried out semi-regularly by qualified staff to offer a quantitative measure of a player's physical condition.

But while many athletes are unaffected by skinfold testing, there are some who may be significantly affected, resulting in poor relationships with weight-reduction plan and body image, and an increased risk of eating disorders. goes

At the elite level, sports nutritionists or qualified medical personnel diagnose and recognize signs of eating disorders or body image issues in athletes and due to this fact ensure appropriate support.

But on the non-elite level, it’s tougher because resources and expertise are sometimes limited. As a result, these young players are more likely to be at greater risk, which is one in every of the explanations the AFL has modified its approach.

Is skinfold testing helpful in terms of assessing fitness?

Body composition assessment, including skinfold testing, generally is a helpful tool in fitness testing and improving athlete performance, but limitations should be recognized.

Although the evidence is evident that leanness and body fat distribution can occur. Performance based on impact speed and endurance (that are key elements of team sports akin to AFL), the connection to overall performance on the football field – which requires high skill execution, strength and decision-making – is unknown and largely anecdotal. Is.

Skinfold testing could also be helpful for tracking changes over time within the elite sport environment and for monitoring the effectiveness of coaching programs and dietary interventions. For example, if a recruit is starting a strength program for the primary time, monitoring skinfolds and weight may help track progress and supply insight into changes.

Skinfold testing can even help discover athletes who could also be in danger for undereating or those with an eating disorder.

Skinfold tests are performed by some sports and teams as a part of their fitness testing regimen.

How widespread are physical problems in sports?

Body image concerns and disorders are common in elite sport, although there may be very limited published research with accurate estimates, mainly resulting from the challenge of obtaining this sort of data (often athletes' access and the sensitive nature of the topic). Due to).

However, we’re beginning to see Further published research Emergence and The players are speaking openly. About the subject

There are many aspects that may contribute to body image concerns on the elite sports and junior levels. These concerns often stem from the pressure and desire to perform, which might result in an unhealthy deal with an athlete's body to fulfill the demands of their sport and gain a competitive edge.

Media and public scrutiny can even contribute to those concerns, especially for athletes who’re in highlight or high-profile sports and are in comparison with other athletes, and for non-idealities of what an athlete “should be”. Real standards.

It is a standard belief that athletes in weight classes or athletic sports, or endurance sports where strength-to-weight ratios could also be advantageous, are at greater risk for body image problems and eating disorders. However, a recent study reported athletes no matter sport or gender. May be affected by eating disorders.

Other aspects akin to uniform expectations, injury and transition out of the game can also contribute to those concerns.

It is vital to notice that body image issues and concerns should not limited to a particular gender, age, background or athletic ability – athletes in the identical sport may experience different reasons for various reasons that affect their mental health, performance and may affect overall health. .

What are other games doing?

Globally, there was an enormous shift in sports culture to advertise positive body image, mental health, and overall athlete development, resulting in changes in the way in which body weight and body composition are assessed and discussed. are

In recent years there was increased awareness of the potential negative effects of an emphasis on body composition on athletes' mental health and well-being. But this was demonstrated within the reports of the independent panel. Swimming Australia And Gymnastics Australia which highlighted concerns about possible over-stressing of the body in a sporting environment.

In response, body positive campaigns, education and support programs have been a spotlight for a lot of sports and organisations, akin to the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS). Assessment considerations for eating disorders and body composition And Eating disorders in a sports program.

It is evident that there was a significant shift within the culture of sport and while body weight and skinfold testing can still be used as a part of fitness assessments, the emphasis on these measures and the assessment of athletes has modified. Efforts are being made to prioritize a more comprehensive approach to