University of Uludag
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences
Differential loading patterns during game-based participation may produce or exacerbate strength imbalances between the lower limbs. It is currently unknown whether such imbalances are functionally beneficial or detrimental to performance. This study assessed the influence of lower limb strength and lean mass symmetry on kicking accuracy in Australian Football. Thirty-one Australian footballers were required to perform a kicking assessment, producing ten drop punt kicks over twenty metres to a player target. Athletes were subsequently separated into accurate (n = 15) and inaccurate (n = 16) groups, with lower-body lean mass assessed using whole body DXA scans, and lower-body strength assessed using an isometric protocol. Accurate kickers demonstrated significantly higher relative lean mass (~8% to 16%; p = 0.001 to 0.004) and significantly lower relative fat mass (~21% to 40%; p = 0.001 to 0.024) than inaccurate kickers. Accurate kickers did not contain any significant difference in lean mass or unilateral strength between lower limbs. Inaccurate kickers displayed significant asymmetry in lean mass (~3%; p ≤ 0.003), producing significant imbalances in strength (~8%; p ≤ 0.002) highlighting a deficiency in their support leg. Greater relative strength and improved lower limb symmetry in strength and muscularity could increase the capacity of an athlete to be technically proficient in favour of greater accuracy.