Influence of stance position on stress and performance factors during snowboarding
Connor, David Adam
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Little research has been conducted regarding snowboarding; there have been no published studies examining the stress response to snowboarding. Snowboard switch riding is a variation in the performance that is in a body orientation opposite the preferred stance position. PURPOSE: To compare general stress response as measured by rating of perceived exertion (RPE), mental stress index, heart rate (HR), and blood lactate (LA), as well as performance factors as measured by degrees of snowboard tilt (tilt), and finishing time (time) in the preferred stance (PS) and switch stance (SS). METHODS: Thirteen snowboarders, ten males and three females (Mean +SD; Age: 27 +5.39y) participated in the study. All participants were considered advanced riders based on selected American Association of Snowboard Instructors Riding Standards for level III certification. One subject was unable to complete the protocol. Subjects reported to the Movement Science Lab at MSU Bozeman for height and weight measurements. Subjects then arrived at Bridger Bowl Ski Area, Bozeman MT to snowboard on one visit. Each subject wore a HR monitor chest strap and wristwatch, had a gyroscopically controlled tri-axial accelerometer attached to their snowboard. Subjects rode through a gated course of eleven gates placed with 13-meter vertical and three-meter horizontal displacement once in PS and once in SS. After completing the course in each condition, RPE, mental stress, physical fatigue, and level of discomfort were assessed; blood lactate was measured three minutes after each trial. HR, tilt, and time data were downloaded and analyzed a posteriori. RESULTS: Time increased significantly in SS (p = 0.001). Tilt was significantly lower in SS (p = 0.005). Rating of perceived exertion was not statistically different, however the effect size was moderate (0.6). HR, and ratings for variables on the mental stress index were not significantly different between conditions. There was no difference in LA. CONCLUSION: The current study indicates that SS snowboarding increases general stress over PS and is associated with lesser skill and decreased performance. Instruction should focus equally on SS and PS snowboarding. Further studies should alter the turn geometry to mimic free riding, and increase course length.