Balance for Basketball?

What makes a good basketball player? Is it how much they bench press, overhead press? Is it how high they jump?

Maybe it’s the numbers they put up on the hang clean?

I would like to think that how a basketball player performs in the weight room transfers onto the court. This is not my expertise. I actually have no idea!

What I do know is that two very distinctive qualities one needs to perform is a sport like basketball are:

  • Balance;
  • Hand eye coordination.

A recent study ( set out to see what the effects of balance training could be on the eye hand coordination and postural control in top basketball players.

It is 15 basketball players and 17 healthy adults that were studied, here. The researchers hypothesized that the basketball players might demonstrate better concurrent eye=hand coordination and balance after having their balance system stimulated from sitting in swivelling rotational chair.

The study presented here was designed to compare eye-hand coordination and postural control before and after vestibular stimulation in elite basketball players and healthy adults.

The vestibular stimulation targeted more specifically the horizontal canals of the inner ear, responsible for encoding rotational movements of the head.

Eye-hand coordination was assessed by recording, reaction time, movement time and touch accuracy while the subjects were asked to perform a fast finger-pointing task involving a moving visual target in a standing position.

Postural control was assessed over a 20s period of time on a force platform.

For healthy young adults, after vestibular stimulation, the average reaction time of the control participants increased by 8.1%, movement time decreased by 2.4% and touch accuracy decreased by 0.8%. That being said, none of these changes were statistically (or practically) significant.

The controls did, however, exhibit a highly significant increase in the average time to stabilization. The basketball players had a greater average decrease in reaction time after vestibular stimulation.

In conclusion, the basketball players showed better postural control and faster reaction times in eye-hand coordination tasks following vestibular stimulation when compared to the control group.

On the contrary, young control participants showed a significant increase in time to stabilization after vestibular stimulation by whole head-and-body rotation.

Vestibular stimulation could enhance balance performance and eye-hand coordination among young basketball players.


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