The Effects of Complex Training on Neuromuscular Development of the Lower Limbs in Youth Netball Players
Objective: The high prevalence of injury in netball can be associated with intrinsic or extrinsic factors. Female athletes have an increased risk of injury as they enter into maturity due to increased joint laxity and a reduction in neuromuscular control, resulting in altered landing biomechanics and greater knee joint injury risk. This study sought to investigate whether complex training (CT) could improve neuromuscular strength and landing kinematics, thereby reducing injury risk to the knee.
Methods: A within subject, repeated measures design was utilised. Ten youth netball academy players (age 15.3 ± 0.9, years; height 169.0 ± 7.0 cm; body mass, 62.2 ± 6.9 kg) participated and attended one familiarisation and two testing sessions (pre- and post-intervention). Participants’ were assessed on: countermovement jump (CMJ), landing error score system (LESS), and single leg countermovement jump (SLCMJ) of both limbs. All participants engaged in a 6 week, one day per week, strength training and plyometric intervention for the lower limbs utilising CT.
Results: Significant improvements were evidenced for CMJ height (p=0.001, d=1.2 “moderate” effect), CMJ peak power output (PPO) (p=0.001, d=0.7 “small” effect), LESS (p=0.002, d=1.7 “large” effect), and SLCMJ left height (p=0.01, d=1.2 “moderate” effect) following the intervention.
Conclusion: Performing one CT session a week over 6 weeks enhanced kinematics and performance of jumping activities both bilaterally and unilaterally, it also brought about reductions in asymmetries in young female athletes.