Relationships to skating performance in competitive hockey players

Chris M Farlinger, L Darren Kruisselbrink, Jonathon R Fowles
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2007, 21 (3): 915-22
The purpose of this study was to identify off-ice variables that would correlate to on-ice skating sprint performance and cornering ability. Previous literature has not reported any off-ice testing variables that strongly correlate to on-ice cornering ability in ice hockey players. Thirty-six male hockey players aged 15-22 years (mean +/- SD: 16.3 +/- 1.7 years; weight = 70.8 +/- 10.4 kg; height = 175.6 +/- 4.1 cm) with an average of 10.3 +/- 3.0 years hockey playing experience (most at AA and AAA levels) participated in the study. The on-ice tests included a 35-m sprint and the cornering S test. The off-ice tests included the following: 30-m sprint, vertical jump, broad jump, 3 hop jump, Edgren side shuffle, Hexagon agility, side support, push-ups, and 15-second modified Wingate. The on-ice sprint test and cornering S test were strongly correlated (r = 0.70; p < 0.001). While many off-ice tests correlated with on-ice skating, measures of horizontal leg power (off-ice sprint and 3 hop jump) were the best predictors of on-ice skating performance, once weight and playing level were accounted for. These 4 variables accounted for a total of 78% (p < 0.0001) of the variance in on-ice sprint performance. No off-ice test accounted for unique variance in S-cornering performance beyond weight, playing level, and skating sprint performance. These data indicate that coaches should include horizontal power tests of off-ice sprint and 3 hop jump to adequately assess skating ability. To improve on-ice skating performance and cornering ability, coaches should also focus on the development of horizontal power through specific off-ice training, although future research will determine whether off-ice improvements in horizontal power directly transfer to improvements in on-ice skating.

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