Human Braking Performance Research

Damian’s research into Human Braking Performance commenced in 2014 when he started a PhD examining the neuromuscular determinants of horizontal deceleration ability at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK. His PhD work pioneered new approaches to measure an athletes horizontal deceleration ability, enabling some of the first experimental evidence of the underpinning qualities that may enhance horizontal deceleration ability to be identified. 

Harper, D.J. (2021). Neuromuscular determinants of horizontal deceleration ability in team sport athletes: Performance and injury-risk implications, PhD Thesis. University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK. (open access)

Call to Action

Horizontal deceleration and braking have been largely overlooked in sports performance and injury-risk reduction research. The following papers were written to raise awareness of the potential importance of horizontal decelerations and braking on sports performance and injury-risk and to highlight important future research areas that could help to further develop our understanding:  

McBurnie, A.J., Harper, D.J., Jones, P.A. & Dos’Santos, T. (2022). Deceleration training in team sports: Another potential ‘vaccine’ for sports-related injury? Sports Medicine. 52, (1), 1-12.  (open access)

Harper, D.J., Sandford, G.N., Clubb, J., Young, M., Taberner, M., Rhodes, D.. Carling., C. & Kiely, J. (2021). Elite football of 2030 will not be the same as that of 2020: What has evolved and what needs to evolve? Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. 31, 493:494. https//

Harper, D.J. & Kiely, J. (2018). Damaging nature of decelerations: Do we adequately prepare players? BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine. 4:e00379. (open access)

Match-Play Deceleration and Braking Demands

These papers have investigated  the demands and importance of high-intensity decelerations to team sports competitive match play. They provide new insights into the frequencies of high-intensity decelerations and how they may influence match performance outcomes:

Rhodes, D., Valassakis, S., Bortnik, L., Eaves, R., Harper, D.J. & Alexander, J. (2021). The effect of high-intensity accelerations and decelerations on match outcome of an elite English league two football team. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 18, 9913. (open access)

Harper, D.J., Carling, C. & Kiely, J. (2018). High-intensity acceleration and deceleration demands in elite team sports competitive match play: A systematic review and meta-analysis of observations studies. Sports Medicine. 14, (12),  1923-1947. (open access)

Assessing Horizontal Deceleration Ability

These papers provide practitioners with new insights into how they may go about obtaining valid and reliable information on their athletes horizontal deceleration and braking performance capabilities: 

Eriksrud, O., Ahlbeck, F., Harper, D.J. & Oyvind, G. (2022). Validity of velocity measurements of a motorized resistance device during change of direction. Frontiers in Physiology. 13, (824606), 1-13. (open access)

Jordan., A.R., Carson, H.J., Wilkie, B., & Harper, D.J. (2021). Validity of an inertial measurement unit system to assess lower-limb kinematics during a maximal linear deceleration. Central European Journal of Sport Sciences and Medicine. 33, (1), 5-16. (open access)

Harper, D.J., Morin, J.B., Carling, C. & Kiely, J. (2020). Measuring maximal horizontal deceleration ability using radar technology. Sports Biomechanics.

Determinants of Horizontal Deceleration Ability

These papers investigate associations between horizontal deceleration ability and various neuromuscular strength qualities: 

Harper, D.J., McBurnie, A., Dos’Santos, T., Evans, M., Eriksrud, O., Cohen, D., Rhodes, D., Carling, C. & Kiely, J. (2022). Biomechanical and neuromuscular performance requirements of horizontal deceleration ability: A review with implications for random, intermittent, multi-directional sports. Sports Medicine. (open access)

Harper, D.J., Cohen, D.D., Carling, C. & Kiely, J. (2021). Drop jump neuromuscular performance qualities associated with maximal horizontal deceleration ability in team sport athletes. European Journal of Sports Sciences.

Harper, D.J., Jordan, A.R. & Kiely, J. (2021). Relationships between eccentric and concentric knee strength capacities and maximal linear deceleration ability in male academy soccer players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 35, (2), 465-472.

Harper, D.J., Cohen., D.D., Carling, C. & Kiely, J. (2020). Can countermovement jump neuromuscular perormance qualities differentiate maximal horizontal deceleration ability in team sport athletes? Sports. 8, (76), 1-20. (open access)