Water polo players require a high level of upper-extremity strength, flexibility and coordination to achieve a peak level of throwing performance. Increased levels of shoulder proprioceptive acuity, strength and range of motion (ROM) have been previously associated with higher sporting performance. A coach-rating scale, used to quantify an athlete’s kicking proficiency in soccer; was adapted in the current study to measure each coach’s subjective expert opinion regarding athletes’ throwing mechanics, velocity, and accuracy. To examine this hypothesis shoulder proprioception acuity of 18 water polo players was measured both in-water and on-land using an AMEDA apparatus and correlated with coach-rated throwing performance and clinical measures of shoulder strength and ROM. There was a moderate positive correlation between the in-water and the on-land proprioception acuity (r = 0.47, p < 0.05). The in-water score showing a strong positive correlation with coach rated throwing mechanics (r = 0.68, p < 0.05) and velocity (r = 0.75, p = 0.02), suggesting that superior proprioception acuity contributed to fast, mechanically-efficient throwing. These findings support the notion that in-water proprioceptive acuity is an important determinant of the throwing performance achieved by water polo athletes and its measurement may be a valuable adjunct to current athlete screening.
Hams, A. H., Evans, K., Adams, R., Waddington, G., & Witchalls, J. (2019). Throwing performance in water polo is related to in-water shoulder proprioception. Journal of Sports Sciences, 37(22), 2588–2595. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2019.1648987