The relationship of unilateral leg strength on linear speed and change of direction performance in rugby league players

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Mark Helme

Rugby League (RL) is an intermittent, high intensity, collision sport characterised by frequent accelerations and changes of direction (Gabbett et al., 2008). Leg strength has been associated with improved performance in both linear and change of direction speed (CODS) (Bret et al., 2002, Wisløff et al., 2004, Cronin and Hansen, 2005, McBride et al., 2009). Previous research has used bilateral methods of investigating this association, yet few studies have taken a unilateral approach to strength assessment. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between unilateral leg strength speed, momentum, change of direction speed and change of direction deficit, in RL players. Further understanding the interaction to different forms of strength and performance measures may better enable practitioners to prepare their athletes. It was hypothesized that increased leg strength would positive influence performance in sprint and CODS measures.