When prescribing balance exercises to athletes in different sports, it may be important to recognize performance variations. Indeed, how athletes from different sports perform on balance tests is not well understood. The goal of the present study was to compare static balance and the role of vision among elite sprinters, jumpers and rugby players. The modified clinical test of sensory interaction on balance (mCTSIB) was used to assess the velocity of the center-of-pressure (CoP) on a force platform during a 30 s bipedal quiet standing posture in 4 conditions: firm surface with opened and closed eyes, foam surface with opened and closed eyes. Three-factor ANOVA indicated a significant main effect for groups (F=21.69, df=2, p<0.001, η2 = 0.34). Significant main effect of vision (F=43.20, df=1, p<0.001, η2 = 0.34) and surface (F=193.41, df=1, p<0.001, η2 = 0.70) as well as an interaction between vision (eyes open, eyes closed) and surface (firm and foam) (F=21.79, df=1, p=0.001) were reported in all groups. The subsequent Bonferroni-Dunn post hoc test indicated that rugby players displayed better static balance than sprinters and jumpers (p=0.001). The comparison of sprinters and jumpers did not reveal significant differences (p>0.05). The nature of the sport practiced and the absence of visual control are linked to modify static balance in elite athletes. Coaches and strength and conditioning professionals are recommended to use a variety of exercises to improve balance, including both exercises with opened and closed eyes on progressively challenging surfaces in order to make decisions about tasks and sensory availability during assessment and training.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.