The present study aimed to determine the role of balance training improving technical soccer skills in young players. Two U11 soccer teams were randomly assigned one to either balance training (BT; n = 22) or control group (Ctrl; n = 21). At the end of their habitual soccer training (identical in BT and Ctrl), BT underwent additional balance training for 12 weeks (3 sessions/week, 20 minutes per session), while Ctrl had a 20-minute scrimmage. Before and after the intervention, BT and Ctrl underwent two soccer-specific tests (Loughborough Soccer Passing, LSPT, and Shooting, LSST, Tests), and bipedal and unipedal balance evaluations. After intervention, both groups decreased the trials time and improved passing accuracy, with larger improvements in BT than Ctrl (LSPT penalty time [CI95%]: -2.20 seconds [-2.72/-1.68]; ES [CI95%]: -2.54 seconds [-3.34/-1.74]). Both groups improved balance ability, with BT showing larger increments in bipedal tests than Ctrl (static balance: -29 mm [-42/-16]; ES: -1.39 [-2.05/-0.72]; limit of stability: 4% [3/5]; ES 3.93 [2.90/4.95]; unipedal quasi-dynamic balance: 0.07 a.u. [0.03/0.11]; ES: 1.04 [0.40/1.67] and active range of motion: -5% [-8/-2]; ES -0.89 [-1.51/-0.26]). Low-to-moderate correlations between the players' technical level and unipedal balance ability were retrieved, particularly in the non-dominant limb (R from 0.30 to 0.48). Balance training improved some technical soccer skills more than habitual soccer training alone, suggesting that young soccer players may benefit from additional balance training added to their traditional training.
|Journal||Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 2018|
- Unipedal stance test
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation