Why is balance training important?
- Good balance can increase performance
- Reduces risk of injury - specifically anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and ankle injuries
- Improves coordination between nerves and muscles as well as increasing stability and movement efficiency
- Creates a sense of body awareness, body positioning, postural alignment, and movement confidence
- Develops the body's ability to stabilize and generate power from the core
When involved in training it's common to focus on how much weight a person can lift or how many goals they can score. For balance training, the focus must be on the quality and control the athlete has over their movements. Typical balance training goals include increased proprioception (awareness of the position of one's body), better muscle coordination, and reduced reaction times.
Types of balance training
Of course, balance training should be geared specifically to the needs of the sport whether it be static or dynamic balance.
Static balance - requires the ability to maintain equilibrium while at rest.
Dynamic balance - is considered more difficult since it requires the ability to maintain equilibrium while moving.
Balance training can be easily integrated into a training program without have a major effect on energy or time requirements. Performing this type of training has many benefits that ultimately add up to the end goal of improving athletic performance.
References from the SIRC Collection:
1. Bressel E, Yonker J, Kras J, Heath E. Comparison of Static and Dynamic Balance in Female Collegiate Soccer, Basketball, and Gymnastics Athletes. Journal Of Athletic Training. January 2007;42(1):42-46.
2. Butler R, Southers C, Gorman P, Kiesel K, Plisky P. Differences in Soccer Players' Dynamic Balance Across Levels of Competition. Journal Of Athletic Training. November 2012;47(6):616-620.
3. Gioftsidou A, Malliou P, Godolias G, et al. Balance training programs for soccer injuries prevention. Journal Of Human Sport & Exercise. October 2012;7(3):639-647.
4. Hrysomallis C. Balance Ability and Athletic Performance. Sports Medicine. March 2011;41(3):221-232.
5. Pafis G, Ispirlidis I, Godolias G. Balance Training Programs for Soccer Injury Prevention. Physical Training. November 2007;:2.
6. Ricotti L. Static and dynamic balance in young athletes. Journal Of Human Sport & Exercise. December 2011;6(4):616-628.
7. Twist P. PERFORMANCE BALANCE. Cross Country Skier. October 2009;29(1):28-53.