Background. Balance training is widely used in the rehabilitation after an ankle sprain and is thought to have a decreasing effect on postural sway. The present study investigated whether a 5.5-week balance training programme leads to a decreased postural sway showing in a reduced range of centre of pressure excursion. Methods. Thirty university students participated in this study. Twenty-two untrained subjects were randomly assigned to either an intervention group (n = 11) or a control group (n = 11). The remaining eight subjects were participants in an organized volleyball competition and were assigned to an additional volleyball group (n = 8). All subjects of the intervention group and the volleyball group received a 5.5-week balance training programme, while subjects of the control group received no training. Centre of pressure of the ground reaction force was measured as a proxy measure of postural sway, using a force platform. Measurements took place before and after the 5.5-week training programme for standing on one leg (both for right and for left leg) of single leg stance, both for the eyes-open and eyes-closed situation. From these measurements centre of pressure excursion in the anterior-posterior and the medial-lateral direction was calculated. A linear regression analysis was performed to check for differences in centre of pressure excursion between any of the groups over the training period. Findings. No differences in changes of centre of pressure excursion were found between any of the groups over the 5.5-week training period. Interpretation. Balance training does not lead to a reduction in centre of pressure excursion in a general population consisting of non-injured and previously injured subjects. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.