Balance as a component of physical fitness refers to the athlete’s ability to stay in controls of their body’s position. Often this is their ability to remain upright, but this is not always the case. An athlete can be well balanced on the floor performing a V-sit or while break-dancing the helicopter. With this in mind, there are two types of balance: static and dynamic.
Static balance is the balance of a person while they are stationary. This could be standing vertically in a wall during a football match as the opposition takes a free kick, or holding a handstand in yoga. Stationary balance is the type of balance most people think of when balance is mentioned, and it is easily tested using tests such as the stalk balance test.
Dynamic balance, on the other hand, occurs while the athlete is moving. Examples of dynamic balance can be as simple as walking or running, but can also be very complex, such as a gymnastics performance on a balance beam or a player continuing to move after being hit in a tackle from an opposing player.
Balance relates to movement efficiency because it is an underlining requirement for general movement and non-movement to occur. For example, agility requires excellent dynamic balance in order to allow the athlete to move, and change direction in response to a stimulus. An athlete with good balance is likely to have good agility (though not guaranteed). Good balance will also help to minimise energy waste during a performance, increasing movement efficiency and enabling the athlete to improve their performance.
Many performances require high levels of balance and balance testing for such sports may help to predict performance, but only so far tas the test is specific for the performance. A footballer who has to dodge and weave through the opposition, the ballet dancer performing her pirouette, and the gymnast who works as part of a team to create a group balance pose would each require a different balance test to better predict their performance.