Balance Error Scoring System Performance Differences in Figure Skaters Based on Discipline.

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Balance Error Scoring System Performance Differences in Figure Skaters Based on Discipline.

Mangum LC, Skibski A, Devorski L, Slater L.



Background: Balance and postural stability are required of figure skaters throughout on-ice performance. Spinning, jumping, and landing each rely on this skill set to maintain control while skaters manage changing demands for each skating discipline.

Hypothesis/Purpose: The aim of this study was to compare balance error scoring system (BESS) performance in figure skaters between disciplines and determine if age was related to BESS performance.

Study Design: Cross-sectional study.

Methods: Three hundred and fifty-eight figure skaters (age: 15.4±3.3 years, 213 females, 145 males) of multiple disciplines completed the BESS during the United States Figure Skating’s Standardized Testing of Athleticism to Recognize Skaters (S.T.A.R.S.) combine. Errors during each condition of the BESS were recorded by trained evaluators. A 3x6 ANOVA was used to determine BESS differences based on skating discipline. Spearman’s rho (ρ) correlation coefficients were calculated for relationships between BESS errors and age.

Results: Ice dancers had more errors than singles and pairs for bipedal foam (p<0.001) but had fewer errors than single skaters for single leg foam (p=0.002). Tandem on a firm surface also showed an increase in errors for ice dancers and pairs skaters compared to singles (p<0.001). There were significant weak negative relationships noted between age and bipedal foam and single leg firm conditions (ρ=-0.14, -0.23, p<0.05).

Conclusion: Figure skaters of different disciplines have varying levels of static postural stability. Assessing postural stability in figure skaters can provide insight to improve performance and may identify skaters at risk of injury.

Level of Evidence: 3