Validation of an Electronic Jump Mat to Assess Stretch-Shortening Cycle Function

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Kenny, IC, Ó Cairealláin, A, and Comyns, TM. Validation of an electronic jump mat to assess stretch-shortening cycle function. J Strength Cond Res 26(6): 1601–1608, 2012—The purpose of this investigation was to determine the concurrent validity of a commonly used electronic switch mat (ESM), or jump mat, compared with force plate (FP) data. The efficiency of collection and accuracy of data are paramount to athlete and player field testing for the strength and conditioning coach who often has access only to a jump mat. Ten subjects from 5 different sporting backgrounds completed 3 squat jumps (SJs), 3 countermovement jumps (CMJs), and 3 drop jumps (DJs). The jumps were performed on an AMTI FP operating at 1,000 Hz with an ESM positioned on top of the platform. All the subjects were experienced with the protocols involved with jump testing. The resulting absolute errors between FP and ESM data were 0.01, 0.02, and 0.01 m for CMJ, SJ, and DJ heights, respectively. However, the coefficient of variation for the DJ contact time (CT) was 57.25%, CMJ (r = 0.996), and SJ (r = 0.958) heights correlated very strongly with force platform data, and DJ data were not as strong (r = 0.683). Confidence interval tests revealed bias toward CMJ and SJ (p < 0.05). The jump mat can accurately calculate the CMJ height, SJ height, and reactive strength index for all the 3 jump protocols. However, the faster CTs and rapid movements involved in a DJ may limit its reliability when giving measures of CT, flight time, and height jumped for DJs. Strength and conditioning coaches can use such a jump mat device with the confidence that it is accurately producing valid measurements of their athlete's performance for CMJ and SJ slow SSC protocols.

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