The effect of ball characteristics on head acceleration during purposeful heading in male and female youth football players

Kerry Peek*, Marnee McKay, Allan Fu, Tim Meyer, Vincent Oxenham, Carrie Esopenko, Jaclyn Caccese, Jordan Andersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: The objective of this cross-sectional study was to explore the effects of different ball types and characteristics on head acceleration during purposeful heading in youth football players. Methods: Experienced male and female players (n = 61) aged between 12–17 years completed heading trials with 4 different balls (Ball 1 mass 192 grams (g), pressure 5.0 pounds per square inch (psi); Ball 2 432 g, 5.0 psi; Ball 3 255 g, 5.0 psi; Ball 4 430 g, 10.5 psi) whilst wearing a head-mounted accelerometer and gyroscope. Balls 1, 2 and 4 were size 5 balls; Ball 3 was a size 4 ball. Results: Multivariate analysis of variance and post-hoc univariate analyses revealed a statistically significant difference between ball type and head acceleration during heading for both linear acceleration (adjusted R2 = 0.68; F = 140.90; p = <0.001) and angular velocity (adjusted R2 = 0.28; F = 26.52; p = <0.001). Ball 1 (lightest size 5 ball) and Ball 3 (size 4 ball) demonstrated linear head accelerations up to 59% lower (p = <0.01) when compared with Ball 4 (size 5 regulated match ball). Discussion: Head acceleration during purposeful heading is influenced by changes to ball pressure, ball size and/or ball mass. Changing ball characteristics, particularly in youth football training when heading is being taught, should be an easy strategy to implement.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalScience and Medicine in Football
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Copyright:
Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • soccer
  • adolescent
  • ball
  • head injury

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