M. Harrington, C. Reyes

Linfield University, McMinnville, OR

Cheer and dance (CD) are an under-studied population and should be considered “athletes,” just as much as other traditional team sports, such as softball, soccer, and volleyball. To date, there is little research published on profiling CD neuromuscular qualities and their kinetics during an explosive movement, like the countermovement jump (CMJ). PURPOSE: To provide kinematic and several kinetic metrics that will explain the movement patterns of CD during the CMJ. METHODS: Participants involved in CD (n = 39), women’s soccer (WSOC, n = 37) and volleyball (VB, n = 17) participated in an observational study. All participants performed 9 maximal jumps: 3 squat jumps, 3 muti-rebound jumps and 3 countermovement jumps on a force plate. (Hawkin Dynamics; Westbrook, Maine).

Specific metrics collected from all 9 tests were jump height (JH), reactive strength index-modified (mRSI), average reactive strength index (ARSI), braking rate of force development (BRFD), average relative propulsive force (ARPF), peak propulsive force (PPF), relative propulsive impulse (RPI), eccentric utilization ratio (EUR), peak propulsive power (PPP), countermovement depth (CMD), and braking phase percentage (BPP). Analysis of variance statistical tests were used to compare the jump metrics between the three teams. RESULTS: CD had significantly lower jump metrics compared to VB and WSOC such as JH (p < 0.001), mRSI (p = 0.005), BRFD (p = 0.03), ARPF (p < 0.001), and RPI (p = 0.02). CD also squatted significantly lower during their jumps than both VB and WSOC (p = 0.02). CONCLUSION: Results displayed significant movement pattern differences in jump metrics between CD and VB/WSOC. Practitioners need to provide athlete-specific training programs to improve the neuromuscular qualities of CD, to par with other traditional team sports athletes. Future research should aim to develop force and power production in the cheer and dance population for improved coordination, performance, and decreased injury risk. Another recommendation would be to look whether this study’s data can be used to distinguish dancers at various competitive performance levels, (NCAA division levels, elite, etc.).

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