Stylianos Kounalakis, Anastasios Karagiannis, Ioannis Kostoulas

Balance Training and Shooting Performance: The Role of Load and the Unstable Surface

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Histology
  • Rheumatology
  • Anatomy

Military and law enforcement members’ shooting ability is influenced by their postural balance, which affects their performance and survivability. This study aimed to investigate the effects of a proprioception training program (standing or walking on unstable surfaces) on postural balance and shooting performance. Twenty participants, divided into two groups, completed 60 shots in a shooting simulator while standing, before and after a 4-week proprioception training program. One group (n = 10) followed the training program (EXP), while the other group followed the regular military academy program (CON). The shooting was conducted under four conditions: without load on a stable surface, with load on a stable surface, without load on an unstable surface, and with load on an unstable surface. The findings reveal that the training program had a significant impact on the EXP, improving their balance (p < 0.01). Additionally, only in the EXP, shooting score and the percentage center of gravity increased (p < 0.01) and the stability of the shots, measured by holding time on the target, doubled from 2.2 to 4.5 s (p < 0.01). These improvements were more pronounced when participants had a load and/or were on an unstable surface. In conclusion, a proprioception training program could be beneficial for improving postural balance and shooting performance.

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