The type of mat (Contact vs. Photocell) affects vertical jump height estimated from flight time

J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Apr;27(4):1162-7. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31826520d7.


The purposes of this study were to analyze the validity and reliability of 2 photocell mats and to probe the possible influence of the type of mat (contact vs. photocell) on vertical jump height estimated from flight time. In 2 separate studies, 89 and 92 physical students performed 3 countermovement jumps that were simultaneously registered by a Force Plate (gold standard method), 2 photocell mats (SportJump System Pro and ErgoJump Plus), and a contact mat (SportJump-v1.0). The first study showed that the 2 photocell mats underestimated the vertical jump height (1.3 ± 0.2 cm and 5.9 ± 5.2 cm, respectively), but only SportJump System Pro showed a high correlation with the Force Plate (r = 0.999 and 0.676, respectively) and good intraday reliability (coefficient of variation = 2.98 and 15.94%, intraclass correlation coefficients = 0.95-0.97 and 0.45-0.57, respectively). The second study demonstrated a strong correlation (r = 0.994) between the 2 technologies (contact vs. photocell mats) with differences in vertical jump height of 2.0 ± 0.8 cm (95% confidence interval = 1.9-2.1 cm), which depended on both flight time and subjects' body mass. In conclusion, SportJump System Pro was a valid and reliable device. The new devices to measure vertical jump height from flight time should be validated. The type of mat (contact vs. photocell) affected approximately 6% the vertical jump height (approximately 2 cm in this study), which should be considered in further studies. The use of validated photocell mats instead of the contact mats was recommended.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Exercise Test / instrumentation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult