By Jordana Bieze Foster
Twelve weeks of balance training using unstable surfaces improves jump performance as well as balance in youth basketball players, according to an Italian study published the August issue of Sport Sciences for Health.
Researchers from the University of Milan analyzed balance and countermovement jump (CMJ) height in 23 male members of an under-15 basketball league before and after the 12-week intervention. Eleven athletes received balance training on unstable surfaces while 12 athletes underwent isotonic exercise training focused on leg strength. Intervention training occurred twice a week, for 30 minutes per session; all athletes also completed three tactical training sessions per week.
After the intervention, the balance training group improved significantly from baseline for the single- and double-leg balance tests and the single- and double-leg CMJ tests. Those in the isotonic training group demonstrated significant improvement only for the left leg balance test, which the authors theorized was related to tactical practice (the left leg being the preferred take-off leg for layups in most players) rather than the isotonic training.
Boccolini G, Brazzit A, Bonfanti L, Alberti G. Using balance training to improve the performance of youth basketball players. Sport Sci Health 2013;9(2):37-42.