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Medicina dello Sport 2018 September;71(3):336-44

DOI: 10.23736/S0025-7826.18.03282-9


language: English, Italian

Computerized change of direction training, motor ability and cognitive processing: a randomized controlled trial

Tobias ENGEROFF , Andreas BERNARDI, Winfried BANZER, Lutz VOGT

Department of Sports Medicine, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany


BACKGROUND: Computerized change of direction (COD) and agility training devices are frequently applied within athletic training or rehabilitation. However, there is limited evidence concerning the influence of most of such tools on underlying physical and cognitive demands. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of 4-week computerized COD training on repetitive movement agility (Hexagon Test [s]), agility including cognitive processing of visual stimuli (Choice Reaction Test [s]) as well as dynamic stability (Crossover Hop Test [m]) and reactive strength (Drop Jump [reactive strength index; mm/ms]).
METHODS: Healthy, physically active individuals (N.=20, 8 male, 12 female; mean age: 25.6±4.0 years) participated in a randomized, controlled trial and were pre and post tested after 4 weeks. Ten subjects trained 4 weeks (2 sessions/week) on a computerized COD training tool. Participants of the training-group did two drills (Foot Speed, Slalom Hop) each three times for five and ten seconds respectively. Ten subjects did not participate in the training and served as controls.
RESULTS: After 4 weeks of training the number of ground contacts within drills increased (473±47 vs. 609±42; P<0.001) and compared to the control-group time to completion of the hexagon test significantly improved (Δt: 3.9±2.07 vs. 1.6±1.7 s, P=0.033). Further motor ability and cognitive processing tests revealed no significant differences.
CONCLUSIONS: Four weeks of COD training increases repetitive movement agility but not agility forms which include cognitive processing of visual stimuli. Furthermore, dynamic stability or reactive strength remained unchanged. Overall these findings indicate the task specificity of agility training which has to be regarded within rehabilitation and athletic training.

KEY WORDS: Mental processing - Cognition - Athletic performance

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