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    Biomechanical and neuromuscular performance requirements of horizontal deceleration: a review with implications for random intermittent multi-directional sports

    Harper, Damian J, McBurnie, Alistair J, Dos'Santos, Thomas ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2715-0116, Eriksrud, Ola, Evans, Martin, Cohen, Daniel D, Rhodes, David, Carling, Christopher and Kiely, John (2022) Biomechanical and neuromuscular performance requirements of horizontal deceleration: a review with implications for random intermittent multi-directional sports. Sports Medicine. ISSN 0112-1642

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    Abstract

    Rapid horizontal accelerations and decelerations are crucial events enabling the changes of velocity and direction integral to sports involving random intermittent multi-directional movements. However, relative to horizontal acceleration, there have been considerably fewer scientific investigations into the biomechanical and neuromuscular demands of horizontal deceleration and the qualities underpinning horizontal deceleration performance. Accordingly, the aims of this review article are to: (1) conduct an evidence-based review of the biomechanical demands of horizontal deceleration and (2) identify biomechanical and neuromuscular performance determinants of horizontal deceleration, with the aim of outlining relevant performance implications for random intermittent multi-directional sports. We highlight that horizontal decelerations have a unique ground reaction force profile, characterised by high-impact peak forces and loading rates. The highest magnitude of these forces occurs during the early stance phase (< 50 ms) and is shown to be up to 2.7 times greater than those seen during the first steps of a maximal horizontal acceleration. As such, inability for either limb to tolerate these forces may result in a diminished ability to brake, subsequently reducing deceleration capacity, and increasing vulnerability to excessive forces that could heighten injury risk and severity of muscle damage. Two factors are highlighted as especially important for enhancing horizontal deceleration ability: (1) braking force control and (2) braking force attenuation. Whilst various eccentric strength qualities have been reported to be important for achieving these purposes, the potential importance of concentric, isometric and reactive strength, in addition to an enhanced technical ability to apply braking force is also highlighted. Last, the review provides recommended research directions to enhance future understanding of horizontal deceleration ability.

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