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Balance Beam Test

This is a simple test of dynamic balance requiring the subject the walk along an elevated beam, with subjective measures of their balance performance.

purpose: To assess active balance, through the ability to maintain balance while walking along an elevated beam.

equipment required: gymnastics balance beam, stopwatch, recording sheets.

pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender, test conditions. Perform an appropriate warm-up. See more details of pre-test procedures.

walking the balance beamwalking the balance beam

procedure: The aim of this test is to walk the entire length of a standard gymnastics balance beam steadily, without falling off, and within a six second time span. The participant will start at one end, step up onto the beam, walk the length to the other end. The test is repeated three times.

Scoring: Participants are to be given three trials to complete the beam walk. The table below lists scores based on subjective observations of the beam walker. For more accuracy, use a team of three or more judges to observe a given individual perform. The score for each trial is the average of all the judge's scores. The overall score for the individual is the average of the three trial scores

Score Description
5 Walks the balance beam flawlessly. Does not need to check balance, does not pause. Completes the walk within six seconds.
4 Walks the beam, but is somewhat unsteady. Completes the walk within six seconds.
3 Walks the beam, but is somewhat unsteady. May pause one or more times. Takes more than six seconds to complete the walk.
2 Walks the beam, but is very unsteady, almost falling off, may pause one or more times, and/or takes more than six seconds.
1 Falls off the beam before completing the walk.
0 Falls off the beam immediately.

Reliability: Three judges are used to improve reliability of assessors (Inter-rater reliability), and three trials per individual are allowed to improve reliability over time (Test-retest reliability).

Comments: this test can be used as a screening test for female gymnasts, as walking the beam is a basic skill for gymnastics.

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