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Athletes Who Train on Unstable Compared to Stable Surfaces Exhibit Unique Postural Control Strategies in Response to Balance Perturbations
Journal of Sports and Health Science.
  • D. S. Blaise Williams, III, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Nicholas G. Murray, Georgia Southern University
  • Douglas W. Powell, Campbell University
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Background Athletes have been shown to exhibit better balance compared to non-athletes (NON). However, few studies have investigated how the surface on which athletes train affects the strategies adopted to maintain balance. Two distinct athlete groups who experience different types of sport-specific balance training are stable surface athletes (SSA) such as basketball players and those who train on unstable surfaces (USA) such as surfers. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of training surface on dynamic balance in athletes compared to NON. Methods Eight NON, eight SSA, and eight USA performed five 20-s trials in each of five experimental conditions including a static condition and four dynamic conditions in which the support surface translated in the anteroposterior (AP) or mediolateral (ML) planes using positive or negative feedback paradigms. Approximate entropy (ApEn) and root mean square distance (RMS) of the center of pressure (CoP) were calculated for the AP and ML directions. Four 3 × 5 (group × condition) repeated measures ANOVAs were used to determine significant effects of group and condition on variables of interest. Results USA exhibited smaller ApEn values than SSA in the AP signals while no significant differences were observed in the ML CoP signals. Generally, the negative feedback conditions were associated with significantly greater RMS values than the positive feedback conditions. Conclusion USA exhibit unique postural strategies compared to SSA. These unique strategies seemingly exhibit a direction-specific attribute and may be associated with divergent motor control strategies.

Open Access funded by Shanghai University of Sport under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Citation Information
D. S. Blaise Williams, Nicholas G. Murray and Douglas W. Powell. "Athletes Who Train on Unstable Compared to Stable Surfaces Exhibit Unique Postural Control Strategies in Response to Balance Perturbations" Journal of Sports and Health Science. Vol. 5 Iss. 1 (2016) p. 70 - 76
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