This study established the relationship between isometric midthigh pull (IMTP) peak force and court-based jumping, sprinting, and change of direction (COD) performance in professional netball players. The change in IMTP peak force in response to sport-specific training was also examined.
IMTP peak force and court-based jumping, sprinting, and COD were collected in 18 female athletes contracted to a Suncorp Super Netball team. Linear regression models established the relationship between absolute and normalized strength values and court-based performance measures in the participant cohort. Changes in IMTP peak force and court-based performance measures were examined following 2 consecutive preseason training blocks in a subset of participants.
The IMTP peak force values normalized to body mass were found to be determinants of court-based jumping, sprinting, and COD performance in the participant cohort (R2 = .34-.65, P ≤ .016). The participants showed increases in absolute (mean ± SE = 398 ± 68.5 N, P < .001, Hedge g = 0.70 [-0.05 to 1.35]) and normalized IMTP peak force (mean ± SE = 4.6 ± 0.78 N·kg-1, P < .001, Hedge g = 0.47 [-0.04 to 0.97]) over 2 consecutive training blocks that coincided with improvements in jumping, sprinting, and COD performances.
IMTP peak force is a determinant of court-based jumping, sprinting, and COD performance and is sensitive to training in professional netball players. These results support the utility of the IMTP test to monitor the development and maintenance of maximal lower body muscular strength in these athletes.