Introduction Modulation of lateral preference is suggested to be of importance for sports in which bilateral proficiency is advantageous for high performance. Evidence for such modulations in athlete’s laterality comes from soccer players, suggested as an effect of pronounced bilateral practice (1, 2). Thus, in line with evidence showing that lateralized practice may lead to a shift of manual dominance; our purpose of the present study was to investigate if extensive soccer-specific practice with the Non-dominant-foot (NdF) may positively affect soccer skill performance by means of accuracy and consistency.
Methods Twenty-four elite and sub-elite players (age: 20.5 yrs) from outfield playing positions were randomized to a control- and NdF training-group. The NdF group trained specifically with their NdF on a variety of basic soccer skills (e.g. passing, trapping, juggling) during regular soccer practice, over a four week period (three sessions of 20 min a week). The controls continued their regular team practice. The first skill-test assessed the number of goals scored with the NdF, in a “turn and shoot” task, on a 1.0 x 2.44 meter target, 15 m away. The second task comprised a 25 m cross-pass on a ball in movement, in which accuracy and variability of the pass outcome was assessed.
Results & Discussion Whereas the NdF group displayed a significant improvement in number of goals scored (1.8 +/- 0.5 goals) from pre- to post-test, the control group did not (-0.9 +/- 1.1 goals). For the cross-pass task the NpF group displayed a significant pre- to post-test improvement of the mean accuracy score by 1.6 +/- 0.5 meter, with concomitant reduced variability. No such effects were evident for the control group (0.2+/- 0.7 meters).
Conclusion From an applied perspective, more frequent training with the NdF, in a fashion that does not require special equipment or distinct tutoring, seems to improve skilled use of the non-dominant foot, thus, that may lead to higher proficiency for players even on the elite-/and sub-elite level.
1. Teixeira, L. A., & Okazaki, V. H. A. (2007). Exp, Brain Res, 183, 417–423.
2. Teixeira, L. A. et al (2011). Res. Q. Exerc. Sport, 82, 21–27
Portland, Oregon, USA., 2014. 36-36 p.
Word Conference on Science and Soccer 4.0. Portland, Oregon, USA. June 5-7, 2014