Article Title

Landing Differences in Ground Reaction Force and Kinematics between Collegiate Female Basketball Players and Dancers


Bravo-Pontrelli, E., Rubin, K., Stearne, D. West Chester University, West Chester, PA

Purpose: Altered landing mechanics may decrease force attenuation capacity at ground contact and expose the athlete to non-contact knee injuries. Jump landing strategies exhibited by dancers during training and performance may reduce injury risk by improving alignment through the knee. The purpose of this study was to examine differences between collegiate female basketball players and dancers on hip and knee strength, sagittal and coronal plane lower extremity kinematics and ground reaction forces on single-leg drop landings and drop jumps from 30 cm and to evaluate Reactive Strength Index (RSI) as a functional measure of effective landing strategy and energy transfer on a countermovement. Methods: Four healthy female dancers from a university dance group (age = 20.5 + 1.3 years, height = 164 + 5 cm, weight = 60 + 8.2 kg) and four healthy NCAA Division II female basketball players (age = 20.5 + 1.9 years, height = 169.7 + 7.4 cm, weight = 66 + 8 kg), each with at least 7 years of competitive experience in their respective disciplines, participated. A cross-sectional design was used. Independent variable was training modality (dance or basketball). Dependent variables were isometric strength, for hip extensors, flexors, abductors, adductors, lateral and medial rotators, and knee extensors and flexors, RSI, ground reaction forces and sagittal and coronal plane kinematics. Results: Independent t-tests revealed that dancers exhibited greater knee flexion (p = .014, t = 3.43) on the single-leg drop landing and lower knee valgus angle (p = .014, t = 3.45) on the drop jump task, compared to basketball players. No other differences were statistically significant. Conclusion: Although normalized strength differences between groups did not exist, dancers appeared to demonstrate a softer landing strategy through greater knee flexion and more effectively maintained neutral alignment in the coronal plane at ground contact. Further, since RSI scores did not differ between groups, the safer landing strategy exhibited by dancers did not significantly reduce countermovement performance and thus indicates that dance training principles may show potential for application to more conventional sport training programs aimed at knee injury risk reduction.

Research funded by a West Chester University Student-Faculty Research Grant.

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