Evaluation of Skating Top Speed, Acceleration, and Multiple Repeated Sprint Speed Ice Hockey Performance Tests

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Abstract

Bond, CW, Bennett, TW, and Noonan, BC. Evaluation of skating top speed, acceleration, and multiple repeated sprint speed ice hockey performance tests. J Strength Cond Res 32(8): 2273–2283, 2018—Skating speed, acceleration (ACC), and economy are important attributes related to ice hockey success and should ideally be tested on the ice in a reliable and time efficient manner that is accessible to coaches at all levels of the sport. The purpose of this study was to determine the reliability of certain on-ice tests and further, to use these results to evaluate changes in performance across a season. It was hypothesized that the tests' reliability would be excellent and that players would demonstrate improvements in performance associated with enhanced physiological conditioning. Forty male ice hockey players (16.2 ± 0.8 years, 1.76 ± 0.06 m, 73.7 ± 9.8 kg) completed top speed (TS), ACC, and multiple repeated sprint time (MRST) tests twice in the preseason (PRE 1 and 2) 1 week apart to examine reliability and once postseason (POST) to examine changes across the season. A high-speed video camera was used to time each test. The TS, ACC, and MRST demonstrated excellent within- and between-day reliability (interclass correlation coefficient [ICC] ≥ 0.83, typical error [TE] ≤ 2.6%) as well as within- and between-rater reliability (ICC ≥ 0.86, TE ≤ 0.5%). The team's TS and ACC were similar at all 3 assessments (p > 0.05), whereas MRST was faster at POST than at PRE 1 (p < 0.05). This test battery is reliable, time efficient, and inexpensive. All 3 tests may be used in team selection and identification of fatigue or overtraining. The MRST may be the most sensitive to short-term improvements related to ice hockey conditioning.

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