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 ( 2014 ) 13 , 157 - 165

Research article
Leg Strength and Lean Mass Symmetry Influences Kicking Performance in Australian Football
Nicolas H. Hart1,2, , Sophia Nimphius1, Tania Spiteri1, Robert U. Newton1
Author Information
1 Centre for Exercise and Sport Science Research, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia
2 Fremantle Dockers Football Club, Perth, Australia

Nicolas H. Hart
✉ Centre for Exercise and Sport Science Research, Edith Cowan University, 270 Joondalup Drive, Joondalup WA 6027, Australia
Email: n.hart@ecu.edu.au
Publish Date
Received: 4-07-2013
Accepted: 19-10-2013
Published (online): 20-01-2014
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ABSTRACT

Differential loading patterns during game-based participation may produce or exacerbate strength imbalances between the lower limbs. It is currently unknown whether such imbalances are functionally beneficial or detrimental to performance. This study assessed the influence of lower limb strength and lean mass symmetry on kicking accuracy in Australian Football. Thirty-one Australian footballers were required to perform a kicking assessment, producing ten drop punt kicks over twenty metres to a player target. Athletes were subsequently separated into accurate (n = 15) and inaccurate (n = 16) groups, with lower-body lean mass assessed using whole body DXA scans, and lower-body strength assessed using an isometric protocol. Accurate kickers demonstrated significantly higher relative lean mass (~8% to 16%; p = 0. 001 to 0.004) and significantly lower relative fat mass (~21% to 40%; p = 0.001 to 0.024) than inaccurate kickers. Accurate kickers did not contain any significant difference in lean mass or unilateral strength between lower limbs. Inaccurate kickers displayed significant asymmetry in lean mass (~3%; p ≤ 0.003), producing significant imbalances in strength (~8%; p ≤ 0.002) highlighting a deficiency in their support leg. Greater relative strength and improved lower limb symmetry in strength and muscularity could increase the capacity of an athlete to be technically proficient in favour of greater accuracy.

Key words: Laterality, muscularity, unilateral, imbalance, asymmetry, strength, dominance


           Key Points
  • Strength deficits in the support leg may lead to inaccurate kicking outcomes.
  • An asymmetry of 3% in lean mass generated an 8% imbalance in leg strength.
  • Greater levels of relative lower-body strength and muscle mass are associated with improved kicking accuracy performance.
 
 
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