Differences in lower-body stiffness between levels of netball competition

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2015, 29 (5), pp. 1197 - 1202
Issue Date:
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© 2015 National Strength and Conditioning Association. There are many notable differences in physical and skill attributes between competition levels, especially in team sports. Stiffness is an important mechanical factor to measure when considering athletic performance and injury incidence. Active vertical stiffness (K vert) during hopping and passive stiffness during lying and standing were measured during the preseason period for 46 female netballers (24.0 ± 3.7 years, 72.2 ± 7.6 kg, 175.2 ± 6.7 cm). Participants were classified as elite, sub-elite, representative or recreational based on their current level of competition. A 1-way analysis of variance revealed that elite players possessed significantly higher K vert than recreational players (p 0.018). Large effect sizes (ES) suggested that elite players also possessed higher K vert than sub-elite (d 1.11) and representative (d 1.11) players. A number of large and moderate ES were also present when comparing the passive stiffness of elite players to their lower-ranked counterparts. The results of this study suggest that elite players possess higher levels of active stiffness when compared with their lower-ranked counterparts. The differences in stiffness levels may contribute to a player's ability to physically perform at an elite level and also provide one explanation into elevated rates of injury at higher levels of competition.
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