Preventive Training Program Feedback Complexity, Movement Control, and Performance in Youth Athletes

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Journal of Athletic Training


Context: Preventive training programs (PTPs) reduce injury risk by improving movement control. Corrective feedback is important; however, many cues at once may be too complicated for athletes. Objective: To compare movement control and long-jump (LJ) changes in youth athletes participating in a season-long PTP, with simplified feedback, traditional feedback, or a warmup of the coaches' choosing. Design: Cluster-randomized controlled trial. Setting: Soccer fields. Patients or Other Participants: A total of 420 athletes (simplified feedback = 173, traditional feedback = 118, and control = 129; age = 11 6 3 years). Intervention(s): Teams were randomized into the simplified PTP, traditional PTP, or control group. Simplified and traditional PTPs lasted 10 to 12 minutes and used the same exercises. The simplified PTP provided only sagittal-plane feedback (eg, "get low"), and the traditional PTP provided feedback targeting all motion planes (eg, "don't let your knees cave inward"). Research assistants administered the PTP warmups 2 to 3 times/week for the season. Control team coaches chose and ran their own warmup strategies. Main Outcome Measure(s): Participants completed 4 sessions (preseason [PRE], postseason [POST] at approximately 8 weeks after PRE, retention 1 [R1] at 6 weeks postseason, and retention 2 [R2] at 12 weeks postseason). They performed 3 trials of a jump-landing task, which was evaluated using the Landing Error Scoring System (LESS) and 2 recorded standing LJ trials at each test session. A time series panel was used to evaluate group differences across time points for the LESS and LJ. Results: Change score analyses revealed improvements in the LESS score from PRE to POST for all groups. Improvements from PRE were retained at R1 and R2 for the intervention groups (simplified and traditional). The traditional group demonstrated better LJ performance at POST (P < .001) and R1 (P = .049) than the simplified or control group. Conclusions: Simplified cues were as effective as traditional cues in improving LESS scores from PRE to POST season. Participating in PTPs, regardless of their complexity, likely provides movement benefits.

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