Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2020) 19, 337 - 346

Research article
The Reliability and Validity of a Novel Sport-Specific Balance Test to Differentiate Performance Levels in Elite Curling Players
Haris Pojskic1, , Kerry McGawley2, Anna Gustafsson2, David G. Behm3
Author Information
1 Department of Sports Science, Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden
2 The Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre, Department for Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden
3 School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada

Haris Pojskic
✉ PhD Department of Sports Science, Linnaeus University, 391 82 Kalmar, Sweden.
Email: haris.pojskic@lnu.se
Publish Date
Received: 16-12-2019
Accepted: 26-02-2020
Published (online): 01-05-2020
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ABSTRACT

Balance as a skill and task-specific capacity is considered an essential physical quality in curling, required for executing effective stone delivery. However, no testing protocols have been developed to test curling-specific balance in the delivery position. Thus, the primary aim of this study was to investigate the reliability, validity and usefulness of a newly-developed, curling-specific balance test (CSBT) which involved the delivery position. The secondary aim was to examine the differences between elite and sub-elite curlers for core strength and flexibility, which have previously been identified as important qualities in curling and determinants of balance. Twenty curling players (13 females aged 19 ± 3.1 years; 7 males aged 19.6 ± 2.3 years) from five Swedish super-league curling clubs were divided into two groups according to playing level: elite and sub-elite. Variables included body mass, body height, body mass index, age, playing experience, training frequency, plank test, sit and reach test, standing single-leg balance test (SLBT) and CSBT. The CSBT was executed on a multiaxial tilting balance plate while mimicking the curling delivery position (i.e., a deep lunge position with the front foot on the plate). The participants completed the CSBT on three separate occasions, with each test consisting of three, 20-s attempts. Both the relative and absolute reliability were good for the CSBT (ICC = 0.90; CV = 14.5%). The CSBT demonstrated good measurement usefulness, being sensitive to detect moderate changes that exceeded 0.5 times the test standard deviation. Construct validity of the CSBT was evidenced by the large discriminatory capacity to differentiate expertise level in curling players (t-test: 2.85, p < 0.01; large ES), irrespective of other physical capacities (e.g., flexibility and core strength). However, the elite and sub-elite players also differed in age, playing experience and training frequency. Content validity was confirmed by a weak correlation (r = 0.21; 95%CI: -0.26 to 0.60) between the CSBT and SLBT, which suggests that curling-specific and standing balance should be considered as independent and task-specific motor skills. In conclusion, the CSBT can be used as a reliable, valid and useful tool for the assessment of curling-specific balance performance. In addition, longer and more extensive involvement in curling training contributed to superior specific balance in elite curlers.

Key words: Postural control, core strength, flexibility, skill acquisition, proprioception


           Key Points
  • Both the relative and absolute reliability were good in the CSBT (ICC = 0.90; CV = 14.5%).
  • The CSBT demonstrated good measurement usefulness, being sensitive enough to detect moderate changes that exceeded 0.5 times the test standard deviation.
  • Construct validity of the CSBT was evidenced by the large discriminatory capacity to differentiate expertise level in curling players (d = 1.3; p < 0.01), irrespective of other physical capacities (e.g., flexibility and core strength).
  • In conclusion, the CSBT can be used as a reliable, valid and useful tool for the assessment of curling- specific balance performance.
 
 
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