The purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate a drop-and-stick (DS) test method and to assess dynamic postural control in senior elite (SE), junior elite (JE), and junior development (JD) surfers. Nine SE, 22 JE, and 17 JD competitive surfers participated in a single testing session. The athletes completed 5 drop-and-stick trials barefoot from a predetermined box height (0.5 m). The lowest and highest time-to-stabilization (TTS) trials were discarded, and the average of the remaining trials was used for analysis. The SE group demonstrated excellent single-measures repeatability (ICC = .90) for TTS, whereas the JE and JD demonstrated good single-measures repeatability (ICC .82 and .88, respectively). In regard to relative peak landing force (rPLF), SE demonstrated poor single-measures reliability compared with JE and JD groups. Furthermore, TTS for the SE (0.69 ± 0.13 s) group was significantly (P = .04) lower than the JD (0.85 ± 0.25 s). There were no significant (P = .41) differences in the TTS between SE (0.69 ± 0.13 s) and JE (0.75 ± 0.16 s) groups or between the JE and JD groups (P = .09). rPLF for the SE (2.7 ± 0.4 body mass; BM) group was significantly lower than the JE (3.8 ± 1.3 BM) and JD (4.0 ± 1.1 BM), with no significant (P = .63) difference between the JE and JD groups. A possible benchmark approach for practitioners would be to use TTS and rPLF as a qualitative measure of dynamic postural control using a reference scale to discriminate among groups.
The authors are with the Centre for Exercise and Sport Science Research, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Western Australia. Address author correspondence to Tai Tran at firstname.lastname@example.org.