SPIRIT SQUAD PROFILING: AN EVALUATION USING UPDATED METHODS FOR SPATIAL AWARENESS, FORCE VELOCITY, AND BODY CONTROL
T.Espinosa, G. Reyes
Linfield University, McMinnville, OR
Current data on athleticism characteristics are unique and limited for spirit squad teams (SS), which consists of cheer and dance, such as their neuromuscular and cognitive abilities. PURPOSE: To create profiles and benchmarks of neuromuscular aspects (reactive hopping & kinesthetic body awareness) and cognitive aspects (spatial awareness, peripheral vision, and dynamic vision) of athleticism for SS athletes. METHODS: Active participants on NCAA Division III cheer (n=13) and dance teams (n=18) were profiled and compared to athletes of a non-SS population, like tennis (n=16). Neuromuscular profiles were collected via maximal 1-leg vertical jumps where jump height (JH), power (P) and body control (BC) were recorded. Cognitive abilities such as spatial awareness (SA), spatial memory (SM), peripheral vision (PV), perception scan (PS), multiple object tracking (MOT), and dynamic vision (DV) were assessed and collected on a cognitive sensory station, which consisted of a large touchscreen and tablet. RESULTS: No statistically significant differences were observed between the dance team and cheer team in almost all neuromuscular and cognitive metrics, except for SA and SM (p < 0.05) where dancers scored better than cheerleaders. Significant neuromuscular differences were also reported when comparing SS to tennis, with tennis players displaying more JH and P (p < 0.05), but SS displaying better BC (p < 0.005). No significant cognitive differences were reported between tennis and SS, except for PS where tennis scored better (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: A few cognitive differences in athleticism profiling between SS and non-SS existed, specifically spatial awareness and perception span. In addition, non-SS players exhibited higher neuromuscular qualities, yet SS members displayed better body control during movement. The results can explain how specific training stimuli produces different neuromuscular and cognitive profiles. Future research should aim to expand cognitive and neuromuscular profiles and benchmarks for SS for use in developing functional training programs to improve reactive strength and kinesthetic body awareness, especially in areas of perception span and jump height and power, to help minimize injury and improve competitive performance in these athletes.
Espinosa, T and Reyes, G
"SPIRIT SQUAD PROFILING: AN EVALUATION USING UPDATED METHODS FOR SPATIAL AWARENESS, FORCE VELOCITY, AND BODY CONTROL,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings: Vol. 8:
11, Article 52.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol8/iss11/52