Study design: This study was designed as a comparison study of two cohorts.
Objectives: The hypothesis of this study was that soccer players and dancers have different balance abilities and that these differences could be objectively measured using center of pressure measurements.
Background: Center of pressure (COP) measurements are reproducible and have been validated in the literature for assessing standing balance. The literature does not provide sensitive enough techniques for discriminating between two groups of athletes with excellent standing balance.
Methods and measures: A Matscan pressure mat (Tekscan, Boston, MA) was used to compare COP change variability between 32 female collegiate soccer players and 32 dancers. COP was used to calculate sway index, center acquisition time, sway path length and sway velocity as measures of standing balance.
Results: The dancers had significantly better balance scores (p<0.05) in 5 of 20 balance tests. Results for the remaining 15 balance tests were not significantly different.
Conclusion: These data show that standing balance characteristics of dancers and soccer players can be objectively measured using COP data. Dancers have certain standing balance abilities that are better than those of soccer players. The COP measurements in this study can be used as a tool in future studies investigating standing balance in different groups of athletes.