BACKGROUND: The countermovement jump (CMJ) is commonly used in the assessment of an individual’s neuromuscular abilities. Previous investigations have demonstrated that CMJ performance differences across levels of competition in several sports. Specifically, jump height and reactive strength index modified (RSImod) have been shown to be variables that can be used in talent identification for membership of regional and national team membership in several sports. As the use of the CMJ as an assessment has increased across a variety of sports, exploring differences in level of competition is important to further understand normative data within a given sport. Thus, the purpose of this investigation has to explore CMJ performance across competition levels of collegiate baseball athletes. METHODS: 77 collegiate baseball players from one NCAA Division I team (n=43) and one NAIA baseball program (n=34) participated in this investigation. Data was collected at the beginning of the fall training period for each team. Participants completed three maximal effort trials. Each trial was separated by thirty seconds. All trials were performed on the same portable force platform sampling at 1000 Hz. The mean of the three trials was calculated for each variable. Independent sample t-test were performed for each variable of interest. RESULTS: Statistically significant differences were seen between competition levels with higher values in the NCAA group for both jump height (0.52 ± 0.07 vs 0.41 ±0.10 cm, p < 0.001) and RSImod (0.59 ± 0.11 vs 0.45 ± 0.13, p < 0.001). Additionally, NCAA group had greater propulsive mean force (1002.43 ± 140.51 vs 862.69 ± 191.41 N, p < 0.001). No statistical differences were present in the time to take-off (899.36 ± 120.36 vs 937.03 ± 102.46 ms, p = 0.15) and countermovement depth (0.43 ± 0.08 vs 0.43 ± 0.06 cm, p = 0.83) between groups. CONCLUSIONS: This investigation provides support for previous findings regarding differences between levels of competition within a sport having differences in both jump height and RSImod. With no differences seen in time to take off and countermovement depth differences in competition level can be explained in force production differences in the propulsive phase.

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