3 Reasons Why Balance Is Important In Sports

Balance is a term that commonly used by health professionals and associated with terms such as equilibrium and stability. Balance can be defined into three ways: the ability to maintain a position, the reaction to the external disturbance, and postural adjustment to voluntary movements (Berg. K, 1989). The balance system enables us to sense where we are in space and to maintain our posture and equilibrium while we are resting and moving.

In dynamic exercises and movements, such as sport, balance plays a key role. Balance training is common to incorporate into almost any rehabilitation or activity program. Studies have established that common goals of balance training include improving postural control and injury prevention for athletes of any age at any level.


  • Reduce Risk of Injury

Traditionally, balance training has been used for injury rehabilitation. However, balance training is now being used prophylactically to reduce the risk of lower extremity injuries in athletes allowing for successful athletic participation. According to Hrysomallis C (2007), the number of ankle ligament injuries was directly related to the poor balance ability and the rate of injury for athlete with poor balance was two to seven times the rate of injury for athlete with good balance.



  • Improve Performance

Improved balance and muscle group coordination will naturally increase your body’s ability to control itself during challenging tasks. In sports, this means improved agility, quicker reaction times, and improved overall performance. For non-athletes, it could mean being able to forgo use of a cane for short periods of time or being able to safely walk on grass in the park instead of having to stick to sidewalks.



  • Improve reaction time

Reaction time is a huge component of sport and fitness. In some competitions, minimal reaction time is the difference between champions and runner-ups. However, at all levels, a better reaction time means improvements overall and a decrease in risk of injury. In lifting or other exercises, reaction time to perturbations can mean the difference between injury and non-injury.



Example of balance exercise


1 Single Leg Stand

Duration: Aim for 10-15 minutes per session, at least 2-3 times a week.

Step 1: Warm-up Start with a brief warm-up to get your body ready for the exercises. You can do some light cardio activities like marching in place, gentle leg swings, or ankle circles. This will increase blood flow and reduce the risk of injury.

Step 2: Find a Stable Support Stand near a sturdy chair, countertop, or wall for support, especially if you’re new to balance training or feel unsteady.

Step 3: Double-Leg Balance Begin by standing on both feet, shoulder-width apart, and maintain your balance for about 30 seconds. Focus on engaging your core and keeping your body aligned. This helps establish a foundation for the single-leg stand.

Step 4: Shift Weight to One Leg Shift your weight onto one leg, slightly lifting the other foot off the ground. Aim to maintain this single-leg stance for 10-15 seconds. Use the support of the chair or wall if needed. Focus on keeping your body steady and not swaying.

Step 5: Increase Hold Time As you feel more comfortable, gradually increase the time you spend on each leg. Aim for 30 seconds to 1 minute of balance on each leg. Keep your gaze focused on a fixed point to help stabilize your body.

Step 6: Reduce Support If you were using a chair or wall for support, try reducing the reliance on it. Lightly rest your hand on the support without putting too much weight on it. This will challenge your balance further.

Step 7: Unassisted Single-Leg Stand Once you feel confident with the reduced support, attempt the single-leg stand without any external support. If you wobble or lose balance, reset and try again. It’s normal to struggle at first, but practice will improve your stability.

Step 8: Add Variations To further enhance your balance, try these variations:

a) Arms Variation: Extend your arms out to the sides, in front of you, or place your hands on your hips during the single-leg stand.

b) Eyes Closed: When you feel ready, try closing your eyes during the single-leg stand. This challenges your proprioception (awareness of your body’s position) and balance control.

c) Leg Swing: Stand on one leg and gently swing the other leg forward and backward, maintaining your balance. Repeat on the other leg.

Step 9: Balance Challenges Incorporate balance challenges into your daily routine. For example, brush your teeth while standing on one leg or stand on one leg while waiting for the bus. These simple activities help reinforce your balance skills.

Equipment needed: Balance foam pad (also known as a balance cushion or wobble cushion)

Duration: Aim for 10-15 minutes per session, at least 2-3 times a week.

Step 1: Warm-up Begin with a short warm-up to raise your heart rate and prepare your muscles. You can do some light cardio exercises like brisk walking, cycling, or jumping jacks.

Step 2: Find a Clear Space Select an area with enough space to perform squats safely without obstacles around.

Step 3: Place the Balance Foam Position the balance foam on the floor with the flat side down. Stand next to it, ensuring it’s stable and won’t move during your exercises.

Step 4: Double-Leg Balance Step onto the balance foam with both feet, shoulder-width apart. Try to maintain your balance on the foam for about 30 seconds. Focus on engaging your core and keeping your body centered.

Step 5: Basic Squats on Balance Foam Perform basic squats while standing on the balance foam. Here’s how to do it:

a) Stand with your feet hip-width apart on the foam.

b) Lower your body by bending your knees and hips, as if you’re sitting back into a chair.

c) Keep your back straight, chest lifted, and core engaged throughout the movement.

d) Lower down until your thighs are parallel to the floor or as far as your mobility allows.

e) Press through your heels to return to the starting position.

Step 6: Focus on Balance As you squat on the balance foam, pay close attention to your stability. The foam’s instability will challenge your balance, so you’ll need to make constant adjustments to maintain your form.

Step 7: Increase Depth and Reps Gradually increase the depth of your squats as you feel more comfortable and stable. Start with 8-10 repetitions per set and work your way up to 12-15 repetitions.

Step 8: Single-Leg Squats on Balance Foam Once you’re confident with basic squats, progress to single-leg squats on the balance foam. Here’s how to do it:

a) Stand on the balance foam with one foot in the center.

b) Extend the other leg forward, slightly off the ground.

c) Perform a squat by bending the knee of the standing leg and lowering your body.

d) Push through the heel of the standing leg to return to the starting position.

Step 9: Balance Challenges Incorporate additional balance challenges into your routine, such as:

a) Arms Variation: Extend your arms out in front of you, or place your hands on your hips while performing squats on the balance foam.

b) Eyes Closed: As you become more proficient, try closing your eyes during single-leg squats on the balance foam. Be cautious and only attempt this when you feel ready.

Equipment needed: Trampoline

Duration: Aim for 10-15 minutes per session, at least 2-3 times a week.

Step 1: Warm-up Start with a thorough warm-up to raise your heart rate and loosen up your muscles. Jumping jacks, light jogging on the spot, or dynamic stretches are suitable warm-up exercises for trampolining.

Step 2: Safety Precautions Ensure that your trampoline is in good condition, with no tears or damage to the jumping surface or safety net. Clear the area around the trampoline of any potential hazards. If you’re new to trampolining or haven’t used one in a while, consider having a spotter nearby for safety.

Step 3: Basic Bouncing Begin with basic bouncing to get accustomed to the trampoline’s bounce and regain your balance. Stand in the center of the trampoline, keep your feet shoulder-width apart, and gently bounce up and down. Focus on maintaining a stable posture and staying centered.

Step 4: Two-Legged Jumping Progress to two-legged jumps, aiming to jump a bit higher than basic bouncing. Land softly on the trampoline, bending your knees to absorb the impact. Keep your arms engaged for balance.

Step 5: Single-Leg Hops Now, try single-leg hops on the trampoline. Lift one foot off the trampoline’s surface and hop gently on the other leg. Alternate between legs, ensuring you maintain balance and control during each hop.

Step 6: Front and Back Jumps Practice front jumps and back jumps to challenge your balance and spatial awareness. Jump forward and backward on the trampoline, maintaining control and stability.

Step 7: Side-to-Side Jumps Next, try side-to-side jumps. Jump from one side of the trampoline to the other, landing softly with each jump. Use your arms to help stabilize and guide your movements.

Step 8: Add Arm Movements Incorporate arm movements into your jumps to enhance coordination and balance. For example, swing your arms forward as you jump forward, and swing them backward as you jump backward.

Step 9: Jumping Variations Explore different jumping patterns and combinations, such as tuck jumps (bringing your knees up towards your chest), star jumps (spreading your arms and legs out like a star), and 180-degree jumps (rotating your body mid-air).

Prepared by

Pei Chen

Your Physio Alam Damai

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