The aims of the present study were to examine the myocardial performance index and aortic elastic properties of athletes engaged in ball sports and to determine their relationships with aerobic and anaerobic characteristics. Standard M-mode and Doppler echocardiography, maximal oxygen uptake and 30 sec Wingate tests were performed for 32 elite male athletes ( 12 basketball and 20 soccer players) and 12 healthy sedentary volunteers. Data were analyzed by ANOVA and partial correlation coefficient tests. Absolute values of left ventricular internal diameter, left ventricular posterior wall and interventricular septum thicknesses in diastole were significantly ( p < 0.05-0.01) greater in athletes than in controls. The left ventricular internal diameter corrected by body surface area was also greater ( p < 0.05-0.01) in the athletes compared with the controls. Absolute and body surface area corrected left ventricular mass were significantly greater ( p < 0.05-0.001) in athletes than in controls. Isovolumetric relaxation time was higher ( p < 0.01) in soccer players than in controls. There were no significant differences among the groups for myocardial performance index and aortic elastic properties. Left ventricular mass index was poorly correlated ( p < 0.01) with VO(2)max ( r = 0.410), peak power ( r = 0.439) and average power ( r = 0.464) in the athletes. Poor correlations ( r = 0.333-0.350, p < 0.05) were also observed between aortic elastic properties and average power in athletes. Myocardial performance index and aortic elastic properties are not different in athletes involved in this study compared with sedentary subjects. Aerobic and anaerobic capacities of the athletes used in this study are poorly explained by these resting echocardiographic findings.