Specificity of Jumping, Sprinting, and Quick Change-of-Direction Motor Abilities

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Salaj, S and Markovic, G. Specificity of jumping, sprinting, and quick change-of-direction motor abilities. J Strength Cond Res 25(5): 1249-1255, 2011-Despite being addressed in a number of previous studies, the controversy regarding the generality vs. specificity of jumping, sprinting, and change-of-direction speed (CODS) abilities still remains unresolved. Here, we tested the hypotheses that jumping, sprinting, and CODS represent separate and specific motor abilities, and that the jumping ability based on concentric and slow stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) is relatively independent of the same ability based on fast SSC. Eighty-seven male college athletes performed 3 concentric/slow SSC and 3 fast SSC jump tests, 4 sprint tests, and 3 CODS tests. The hypotheses were tested by means of the principal component factor analysis (PCA). The applied procedure reduced the greater number of manifest variables to a smaller number of independent latent dimensions or factors and, thereafter, assessed the relationships among them. The PCA revealed a relatively simple and consistent structure consisting of 4 separate factors that explained nearly 80% of variance of the applied tests. The factors appeared to correspond to the sprinting ability, concentric/slow SSC jumping ability, fast SSC jumping ability, and CODS ability. Further analyses revealed that the extracted factors were mainly independent, because they shared only between 6 and 23% of the common variance. These results supported our hypotheses regarding the specificity of jumping, sprinting, and CODS abilities, and specificity of the concentric/slow SSC and fast SSC jumping abilities. Coaches and strength and conditioning professionals should, therefore, use separate performance tests for the assessment of the studied abilities.

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