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Sport-Specific Balance

Abstract

This review includes the latest findings based on experimental studies addressing sport-specific balance, an area of research that has grown dramatically in recent years. The main objectives of this work were to investigate the postural sway response to different forms of exercise under laboratory and sport-specific conditions, to examine how this effect can vary with expertise, and to provide examples of the association of impaired balance with sport performance and/or increasing risk of injury. In doing so, sports where body balance is one of the limiting factors of performance were analyzed. While there are no significant differences in postural stability between athletes of different specializations and physically active individuals during standing in a standard upright position (e.g., bipedal stance), they have a better ability to maintain balance in specific conditions (e.g., while standing on a narrow area of support). Differences in magnitude of balance impairment after specific exercises (rebound jumps, repeated rotations, etc.) and mainly in speed of its readjustment to baseline are also observed. Besides some evidence on an association of greater postural sway with the increasing risk of injuries, there are many myths related to the negative influence of impaired balance on sport performance. Though this may be true for shooting or archery, findings have shown that in many other sports, highly skilled athletes are able to perform successfully in spite of increased postural sway. These findings may contribute to better understanding of the postural control system under various performance requirements. It may provide useful knowledge for designing training programs for specific sports.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported through the Scientific Grant Agency of the Ministry of Education of Slovak Republic and the Slovak Academy of Sciences. The author has no potential conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this article.

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Zemková, E. Sport-Specific Balance. Sports Med 44, 579–590 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-013-0130-1

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Keywords

  • Roll Dancing
  • Intermittent Exercise
  • Balance Impairment
  • Maximal Jump
  • Proprioceptive Stimulation