Is Height an Advantage in Every Sport?

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by kimbahpnam, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. kimbahpnam

    kimbahpnam Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Messages:
    2,675
    I can't really think of any sport where height is not an advantage. Maybe in some sports height is less of an advantage (I'm thinking soccer), but still an advantage no less.
     
    #1
  2. RoddickAce

    RoddickAce Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Messages:
    2,467
    Fishing and weight lifting :).
     
    #2
  3. Feña14

    Feña14 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    5,377
    Location:
    England
    Depends really. Scrum halfs in rugby are generally quite small...
     
    #3
  4. meowmix

    meowmix Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    Messages:
    3,852
    Location:
    Hanover, NH
    gymnastics. it's the reason the world was outraged over china's alleged use of 14 year olds in the olympics.
     
    #4
  5. Mick

    Mick Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Messages:
    8,365
    if you are 6 feet tall, you are not going to be a world class jockey :)
     
    #5
  6. Nanshiki

    Nanshiki Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Messages:
    2,285
    Not really an advantage in bike or auto racing... and extra weight is a severe disadvantage.
     
    #6
  7. dave333

    dave333 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2006
    Messages:
    2,018
    Height is usually always an advantage if you have the agility, or body type to take advantage of it (like NBA players or Usain Bolt, who is tall but has a lot of fast twitch muscle fibers). However, tall people usually don't have that agility/body type. However, it's safe to say they get a pretty big advantage if they are comparable to shorter people in every other case.

    Except in certain cases of course, like jockeying or gymnastics. Actually, the chinese girls thing was probably due to their extra flexibility compared to older girls. But being short is probably an advantage for an event like the rings, where being short means you don't need as much muscle to balance your whole body horizontally.
     
    #7
  8. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Messages:
    11,049
    Location:
    Stuck in the Matrix somewhere in Santa Clara CA
    A low centre of gravity is advantageous for wrestling. For 2 wrestlers in the same weight class I imagine that the shorter guy has something of advantage.

    For other sports there is often an optimal height range, especially with regards to certain positions on a team. Elite male badminton players are often a bit under 6 feet tall usually with taller players being just over 6 feet (1.8 meters). In baseball, pitchers & first basemen tend to be taller than shortstops & catchers (altho' there can be quite a range for the latter).
     
    #8
  9. BullDogTennis

    BullDogTennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,216
    Location:
    Big Orange Nation
    soccer it can be an advantage if you still have the speed to go with it. football its an advantage all around if you have the speed. racing, not an advantage. jockey deff a disadvantage.

    for most sports it WILL be an advantage IF you still have the athletism and the speed to go with it.
     
    #9
  10. Okazaki Fragment

    Okazaki Fragment Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    Messages:
    430
    Fighter pilots
     
    #10
  11. Nanshiki

    Nanshiki Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Messages:
    2,285
    ....that's not really a sport....

    But you can't be too short or too tall.

    Actually, for Harriers you apparently couldn't be taller than like 5'8" back in the day.
     
    #11
  12. crash1929

    crash1929 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Messages:
    1,899
    emmit smith's shorter height helped him elude defenders
     
    #12
  13. Noveson

    Noveson Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Messages:
    3,241
    Being a running back is I think the only position in the NFL where it would be an advantage to be shorter, generally. Because generally most shorter people are quicker, harder to hit, and harder to see. Being short in most other positions would be a big disadvantage, such as qb, wideout, db, etc.
     
    #13
  14. Okazaki Fragment

    Okazaki Fragment Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    Messages:
    430
    Sure it is. Haven't you heard of training exercises and war games? Just because it's not a popular sport due to the prohibitive cost of the equipment doesn't give you the right to disparage it as "not a sport."
     
    #14
  15. kashgotmoney

    kashgotmoney Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,188
    tennis, height doesnt matter.

    if you are short, better footwork and better smaller steps... if you are tall, better serves but lack of movement. but with good technigue, you can have the best serve
     
    #15
  16. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Messages:
    6,557
    ^ Height is an advantage in tennis. That's a loaded statement, but undeniably true. I think 6'2" is about ideal, allows for a good combination of movement and stroke leverage.
     
    #16
  17. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Messages:
    12,740
    Location:
    USA
    Definitely a disadvantage for jockeys, but that's because they need to be extremely light.
     
    #17
  18. SFrazeur

    SFrazeur Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2006
    Messages:
    6,480
    Location:
    Arkansas
    It sure isn't in horse racing, if you consider that a sport.

    EDIT: (Darn, Rickson beat me to it. Gee I'm slow at typing tonight.)

    -SF
     
    #18
  19. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Messages:
    12,740
    Location:
    USA
    Which reminds me, there's no advantage on the keyboard either.
     
    #19
  20. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    43,438
    Shooting, archery, skiing, gymnastics, curling, bowling, figure skating, luge, bobsledding, and diving are just a few sports I can think of in which height is not a major advantage.
     
    #20
  21. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Messages:
    12,740
    Location:
    USA
    Height's not a huge advantage in baseball either.
     
    #21
  22. SempreSami

    SempreSami Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Messages:
    3,627
    Location:
    UK
    Really tall people would struggle to fit in a Formula One car, but at the same time, short arses like Maradona and Messi are really good dribblers of the ball because of low centres of gravity.

    Height can be an advantage for seam bowlers in cricket too.
     
    #22
  23. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Messages:
    12,740
    Location:
    USA
    Height is a disadvantage in midget wrestling.
     
    #23
  24. SempreSami

    SempreSami Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Messages:
    3,627
    Location:
    UK
    What about dwarf tossing?
     
    #24
  25. my_forehand

    my_forehand Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    891
    Location:
    haha.HA!
    Karlovic world no.1
     
    #25
  26. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    3,027
    Location:
    somewhere in calif
    In tennis it helps with the serve. Though, the greatest server in tennis was 'only' 6-1, and there have been lots of taller players. However, if he was 5-9 instead of 6-1 , his serve would have been good but not the greatest.
     
    #26
  27. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Messages:
    12,740
    Location:
    USA
    Height is an advantage for the tosser, but not for the tossed.
     
    #27
  28. YULitle

    YULitle Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,133
    Location:
    Guymon, OK
    Cycling. Shorter fellas are better at climbing, in general.
     
    #28
  29. max

    max Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    2,682
    In hockey, it's easier to play offense; you can skate tighter circles and weave around much better if you're short.
     
    #29
  30. Gemini

    Gemini Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
    Messages:
    1,586
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Gymnastics and Diving in particular. People with smaller bodies almost always will spin and flip faster than their larger counterparts.
     
    #30
  31. joshburger

    joshburger Guest

    why wasnt the wimbledon final ivo karlovich and john isner(who had 19 aces in a set that he lost yesterday). instead it was 2 guys whoa re 6-1. so skill technique and talent are more im portant than height, but height is stioll very helpful
     
    #31
  32. TennisNinja

    TennisNinja Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2007
    Messages:
    1,522
    Location:
    Someplace, Somewhere
    For the most part yes, especially the more mainstream ones.
     
    #32
  33. Shangri La

    Shangri La Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    3,169
    Location:
    香格里拉
    I believe many sports are best played with an ideal height (range), like tennis, sprint, gymnastics, and diving etc. While some sports appeal to a wide range of height, like basketball.
     
    #33
  34. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Messages:
    12,740
    Location:
    USA
    What? Basketball is definitely better suited for the tall. Tennis is much better suited for a wide range than basketball for sure.
     
    #34
  35. HeilBarney

    HeilBarney New User

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Only the most popular sport in the world, football. In football Pele and Maradona, the 2 greatest, were short.
     
    #35
  36. GPB

    GPB Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,187
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    Darts! Nobody has said darts yet! Or billiards, either.
     
    #36
  37. Noveson

    Noveson Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Messages:
    3,241
    Definitely not. All the best players in tennis are within 3 or 4 inches of eachother. Meanwhile you have the 6'0" Iverson still scoring 30 a game and the 7'1" Shaq dominating.
     
    #37
  38. Shangri La

    Shangri La Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    3,169
    Location:
    香格里拉
    Here are some numbers:

    Look at the top 10 ATP players. Davydenko is the shortest at 1.77m, Del Potro is the tallest at 1.98m. Thats a range of 21cm. Then take a look at 09 NBA all-star lineup. Yao is the tallest at 2.29m, Iverson/Paul are the shortest at 1.83m. Thats a range of 46cm. 2nd tallest Shaq (2.16) is taller than Iverson/Paul by 33cm.
     
    #38
  39. Noveson

    Noveson Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Messages:
    3,241
    Thanks for bringing some numerical merit to my argument.:)
     
    #39
  40. SempreSami

    SempreSami Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Messages:
    3,627
    Location:
    UK
    Cruyff was 5'11''
     
    #40
  41. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Messages:
    12,740
    Location:
    USA
    In tennis, you have Ollie Rochus at 5'5 who can actually beat some tall guys and you have Ivo Karlovic at 6'10. That's a difference of 17 inches! The little guy in basketball has little to no chance of beating a true big man in a one on one. Tennis is definitely suited for all sizes compared to basketball and this is indisputable.
     
    #41
  42. Noveson

    Noveson Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Messages:
    3,241
    Obviously it's not indisputable because it is being disputed.

    You argument makes no sense. Has Rochus beat Karlovic? No. Who is the tallest guy he has beaten?

    One on one is not basketball. The point is short guys have a much larger impact in basketball than they do in tennis. And so do very tall guys. Much larger range in basketball.
     
    #42
  43. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Messages:
    12,740
    Location:
    USA
    This thread is about height giving an advantage in sports and it's pretty safe to say that height gives one a huge advantage in basketball. Height gives players some advantage in tennis, but it doesn't mean nearly as much to a tennis player as it does to a basketball player. A short tennis player who is equal in skill to a tall tennis player has a good chance of beating him in tennis, but a short basketball player who is equal in skill to a tall basketball player has no chance at all of beating him in b-ball barring injury. Dispute this if you can. I dare you!
     
    #43
  44. Underhand

    Underhand Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    6,212
    Location:
    Serve'n Valley
    Not in beer drinking contests.
     
    #44
  45. am22fcw

    am22fcw Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Messages:
    104
    Location:
    N.C
    #45
  46. Noveson

    Noveson Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Messages:
    3,241
    No actually we were arguing about your claim that tennis is better suited for a wide range of heights. Which is false. Your not-so-subtle change of subject wont change that fact. Also you keep acting as if basketball is one on one. Shorter guys have their own place on the basketball court.
     
    #46
  47. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Messages:
    12,740
    Location:
    USA
    There are short guys with some game like Iverson, but would Iverson be better at 6'6 or 6'8? I think there's no question he would be better.
     
    #47
  48. akoni

    akoni Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2005
    Messages:
    207
    Location:
    Bay Area
    if all other factors are equal, skill, agility, speed, etc. than height is an advantage most of the the time. however, that is not always the case. in basketball you get players who fall into "tweener" sizes and are often not to successful in the nba, i.e. 6'3" shooting guard or a 6'7" power forward. in football a running back's pad level is quite important and you typically have defensive backs guarding wideouts six inches taller because of their speed and ability to make a quick cut. in tennis i see 6'-6'2" as an ideal height. given the dimensions of the court, racquet, etc. there appears to be diminishing returns the taller a player gets, i.e. his/her ability to hit a low ball or take short, quick steps. saying an athlete would be better off if he or she was taller is all relative. allen iverson at 6'6" would be a typical nba shooting guard, but his ability to change directions quickly, weave through defenders, and easily draw fouls on bigger men would all go away.
     
    #48
  49. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Messages:
    2,545
    Location:
    Arizona
    Since this is on its 3rd page, I'm not going to read the entire thread. Don't like it? Suffer. :twisted:

    Of course height is an advantage in basketball. Ever notice how it's a game of giants? Sports where height isn't an advantage, or even a disadvantage: horse jockey, baselining in tennis (lotsa baseliners like Rosewall and Chang aren't very tall, tall tennis players usually have a good serve, but don't like to rally as much because their height makes them akward), and running back in football, (look at a football roster, quite often the running backs are under 5-8, being low to the ground makes them hard to tackle).
     
    #49
  50. chrisplchs

    chrisplchs Professional

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Messages:
    879
    That is only a partial truth. Shorter backs are more common because they tend to get injured less and because they can squeeze through the hole better to gain an extra yard or two. and by hole, I don't mean a path but probably an 18-24 inch square in mid air that lead through to gain extra yardage.

    That said, the best running back in the NFL right now is AP and he's 6'1", which is quite tall when compared to the prototype running back. Each position in the NFL have different prototype size and shape.
     
    #50

Share This Page