Athletes trained using stable compared to unstable surfaces exhibit distinct postural control profiles when assessed by traditional and nonlinear measures


Athletes are assumed to exhibit better balance than non-athletes; however, few studies have examined the role of different types of sports on balance measures. Two athlete groups that experience divergent sport-specific balance training are stable- (i.e. basketball) and unstable-surface athletes (i.e. surfers). The purpose of this study was to quantify the effect of stable- compared to unstable-surface sports on postural stability. Methods: Eight non-athletes (NON), eight stable-surface athletes (SSA) and eight unstable-surface athletes (USA) performed five 20-s quiet standing trials while ground reaction forces were recorded. Approximate entropy (ApEn), total excursion and root mean square distances (RMS) of the center of pressure position were calculated. Univariate ANOVAs with post hoc tests were conducted for each variable. Results: ApEn values were lower in SSA compared to NON in the ML direction (p= 0.012) and USA had lower ApEn values compared to SSA in the AP direction (p= 0.036). The USA had smaller AP RMS compared to SSA (p= 0.002) while the USA had greater ML RMS (p= 0.008) and resultant RMS values compared to SSA (p= 0.025). Discussion: These data suggest that USA and SSA may exhibit direction-specific differences in balance strategy due to feedback paradigm.

Publication Title

Human Movement Science