This investigation aimed to determine the countermovement jump (CMJ) neuromuscular performance (NMP) qualities that differentiate between athletes with high or low horizontal deceleration ability. Twenty-seven male university team sport athletes performed a CMJ on vertical axis force plates and a maximal horizontal deceleration following a 20 m maximal horizontal sprint acceleration. The instantaneous velocity throughout the maximal horizontal deceleration test was measured using a radar device. The deceleration ability was evaluated using the average deceleration (HDEC, m·s-2) and change in momentum-referred to as the horizontal braking impulse (HBI, N·s·kg-1). Participants were dichotomised into high and low HDEC and HBI according to a median-split analysis, and CMJ variables calculated for the overall eccentric, eccentric-deceleration and concentric phases. When horizontal deceleration ability was defined by HDEC, the CMJ concentric (effect size (ES) = 0.95) and eccentric (ES = 0.72) peak forces were the variables with the largest difference between groups. However, when defined using HBI, the largest difference was the concentric (ES = 1.15) and eccentric (ES = -1.00) peak velocities. Only the concentric mean power was significantly different between the high and low groups for both HDEC (ES = 0.85) and HBI (ES = 0.96). These findings show that specific eccentric and concentric NMP qualities may underpin the horizontal deceleration abilities characterised by HDEC and HBI. Specific NMP training interventions may be beneficial to target improvements in either of these measures of horizontal deceleration abilities.
Keywords: concentric; eccentric; force; impulse; velocity.