BACKGROUND: Soccer requires intermittent bouts of aerobic and anaerobic activities such as jumping. Further, soccer can induce a limitation of the ankle range of motion (ROM) over time. Previous research on elite youth soccer players has shown that functional assessments of movement may identify injury risk, but is less accurate at identifying performances outcomes. Further, lower extremity ROM such as the ankle are a key contributor to sports specific tasks such as jumping, and balance. However, it is unknown what influence ankle ROM has on jumping and balance performance in Division I soccer. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between single and double leg vertical jump height, dorsiflexion ROM, and static balance in Division I men’s soccer. METHODS: Fifteen Division I men’s soccer players completed a battery of tests during the offseason. All participants were healthy and without injury. Testing included a brief self-determined warm-up followed by the BTrackSTM Sport Balance test, vertical jump testing, and the dorsiflexion weight-bearing lunge test (WBLT). For vertical jump testing, each participant completed one practice and three test trials of a bilateral countermovement jump and single-leg countermovement jumps on each limb. All jump trials were completed using a jump mat, and the maximum height was used in the analysis. The BTrackSTM test assessed center of pressure(COP) path length in cm, and the WBLT was recorded in cm. A Pearson’s product-moment correlation was used to assess the relationship between the vertical jump measures, WBLT, and COP path length with an alpha level set a priori to p<0.05. RESULTS: There was a moderate negative correlation between bilateral jump height and COP path length (r(13)=-.55, p=0.035), and a moderate positive correlation between right limb vertical jump height and right WBLT ((r(13)=-.55, p=0.034). CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that as COP path length goes down, bilateral jump height goes up, and greater dorsiflexion range of motion may be associated with greater single leg jump height. This would support the importance of having sufficient balance and dorsiflexion to complete a countermovement vertical jump. Dorsiflexion and balance are often measured in sport as injury risk predictors, but may influence jump performance.

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