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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Hockey Performance

Posted by on in Programming

Reflecting on my hockey career, I always remembered the first few days of training camp.  Those were intense times.  I also recollect questioning my off-ice preparation during these times?  Why did my legs feel so heavy?  Did I not train hard enough?  Time and time again, I didn’t feel I had my “hockey legs” underneath me.  For someone who took so much pride in off-season preparation, why did I feel this way?  It took me many years to formulate a working hypothesis.  They say experience comes at the user’s expense, if only I knew then.

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Posted by on in Rehabilitation

The adductors are a series of long muscles that originate in the pubis (pelvis) and insert into the femur (leg).  In the sport of ice hockey, their function is to eccentrically decelerate hip extension during push off, while concentrically contracting during swing.  In other words, as the player pushes off, the adductors are lengthened.  As the player recovers his/her foot, the muscles are shortened.  Adductor strains are amongst the most common form of soft tissue injury experienced during competitive ice hockey.  Adductor strains are prevalent and accounted for 10% of all injuries (10 of 95) in elite Swedish ice hockey players [1], while others have reported that 43% of injuries (20-47) resulted from adductor strains in elite Finnish ice hockey [2].  In a study from Tyler et al. [3]   researchers found that National Hockey League players with adductor to abductor strength ratios of less than 80% were seventeen times more likely to experience an adductor strain.  In order to understand these implications, one must dive deeper into the biomechanics of the sport.

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Posted by on in Coaching Development

The hockey stride has been described by bio-mechanists as biphasic in nature consisting of alternating periods of single leg and double leg support.  The single support phase corresponds to a period of glide, while the double support phase corresponds to the onset and preparation of propulsion (Marino, 1977).  Ankle mobility may play a role at increasing stride efficiency.  Increased range of motion, in particular dorsiflexion (think toes pointed up towards the sky), may aid the skater in assuming a lower skating position, thus reducing air resistance, while simultaneously increasing impulse, or the time the player has to produce force.  In addition, pre-stretching the achilleas may increase kinetic energy thus increasing propulsion.  Using electrogoniometers, researchers measured foot kinematics on the ice during a parallel start from defensive-zone face-off circle to offensive zone face-off circle.  The acceleration phase occurred during the first 5 steps with steps 6-10 representing steady state.  The following findings were recorded based on the average measurements of the sample size:  (Pearsall et al., 2001)

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Posted by on in Coaching Development

 The purpose of this brief article is to explain our testing rationale for the hockey playing population at Donskov Strength and Conditioning.  Each respective practitioner has his/her own unique reality.  The goal is to allow one’s unique reality to dictate the model used for the planning of training, monitoring and testing.  All models are wrong, some are more useful than others.  When it comes to testing, I tend to ask myself the following questions: 1.) What test(s) are the most relevant for our hockey players?  What testing resources do I have at my disposal?  Do I have access to ice?  How long do I have to work with the athlete?  How much time, away from programming do I want to allot for testing?  Is testing necessary? 

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Skating can be described as a bi-phasic activity involving both a support phase and a swing phase  (Garrett & Kirkendall, 2000; Marino, 1977; Upjohn, Turcotte, Pearsall, & Loh, 2008).  The support phase may be further subdivided into both single leg support, corresponding to glide, and double support corresponding to push off.   Propulsion occurs during the first half of single leg support and commences during double leg support as the hip is abducted and externally rotated and the knee is extended (Garrett & Kirkendall, 2000; Marino, 1977).  Skating is a skill, and the differences between elite and non-elite skaters have been investigated by a number of researchers  (Budarick et al., 2018; McPherson, Wrigley, & Montelpare, 2004; Shell et al., 2017; Upjohn et al., 2008)  

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Recently, there has been some fruitful dialogue by several close collogues regarding how best to lace up a pair of hockey skates for increased performance on the ice.  The idea of leaving the first eyelet untied in hopes of producing greater speeds was reinforced in a December article titled “The NHL’s best young skaters all have something in common-how they tie their skates” in The Athletic.  The purpose of this blog is to briefly outline the biomechanical considerations involved in this decision.  Prior to moving forward, we must first define a hockey stride. According to Marino (1977) a hockey stride is:

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When it comes to programming for ice hockey we must ask ourselves…what qualities matter most in sport competition?  In other words, what qualities can we train off the ice, that make the most tangible differences on the ice?  What abilities make great players great?   In order to answer these questions, a good place to start is to look at some of the existing literature and attempt to see what correlates best with on-ice performance. 

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