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Context: Sensorimotor training is commonly used in a rehabilitative setting; however, the effectiveness of an unexpected disturbance program (UDP) to enhance performance measures in uninjured elite athletes is unknown. Objective: To assess the impact of a 3-wk UDP program on strength, power, and proprioceptive measures. Design: Matched-group, pre-post design. Setting: National sport institute. Participants: 21 international-level female field hockey athletes. Intervention: Two 45-min UDP sessions were incorporated into each week of a 3-wk training program (total 6 sessions). Main Outcome Measures: 1-repetition-maximum strength, lower-limb power, 20-m running speed, and proprioception tests were performed before and after the experimental period. Results: Substantial improvements in running sprint speed at 5-m (4.4 ± 2.6%; effect size [ES]: 0.88), 10-m (2.1 ± 1.9%; ES: 0.51), and 20-m (1.0 ± 1.6%; ES: 0.23) were observed in the UDP group. Squat-jump performance was also clearly enhanced when compared to the control group (3.1 ± 6.1%; ES: 0.23). Small but clear improvements in maximal strength were observed in both groups. Conclusions: A 3-wk UDP can elicit clear enhancements in running sprint speed and concentric-only jump performance. These improvements are suggestive of enhanced explosive strength and are particularly notable given the elite training status of the cohort and relatively short duration of the intervention. Thus, the authors would reiterate the statement by Gruber et al (2004) that sensorimotor training is a “highly efficient” modality for improving explosive strength.

Teichmann, Suwarganda, Beaven, Hébert-Losier, Lee, Tenllado Vallejo, Lew, Aziz, and Kian are with the National Sports Inst of Malaysia, Bukit Jalil, Malaysia. Schmidtbleicher is with the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Schmidtbleicher (Schmidtbleicher@sport.uni-frankfurt.de) is corresponding author.
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