Ice hockey has been described as physiologically challenging, specifically at the expert level. It is one of the most remarkable team sports. It necessitates forceful physical contact, hostile play and performance intervals at an individual’s greatest abilities.
However, when associated to other sports, some researchers propose ice hockey influences an athlete to early and long-lasting exhaustion.
Ice hockey is recognized by irregular, high-intensity stretches of skating, necessitating rapid spurts and fluctuations in swiftness and direction, the possibility for powerful contact, and the performance of a variation of skillful tactics. At a high-level, ice hockey is considered to be intense with recurrent spells of high-energy production, with physiological changes lasting from 30-80 seconds, but rarely beyond 90 seconds.
Success at the highest level entails players to improve performance, including anaerobic sprint capability as well as strength, power and stamina. The nature of ice hockey also involves greater lean body mass and unmatched muscular strength. Thus, this team sport can be measured as a sport in which total body fitness is a necessity.
Identification of the physiological characteristics of an athlete in a particular sport discipline helps with the athlete’s physiological development and is key to recognizing strengths and weaknesses in sport-specific training and testing. The capability to recognize elite versus non-elite potential of athletes may influence a team’s accomplishments.
Today, there is a need to apply multidimensional studies in sport sciences. It is particularly significant in the sport selection process. It is particularly problematic to elect a measure with the assistance of which one could present accomplishments of an athlete on an immeasurable scale.
With that being said, ice hockey is becoming a more and more physically demanding sport which results in a substantial upsurge of intensity. All these changes have an impact on the game, keeping it relevant and growing. Currently, ice hockey players have to be more primed than they ever have been, with respect to the individual motor abilities and technical skills. Their psychological individualities and strategic knowledge have to be forward-thinking so they can meet the requirements set by the elite athletes that “paved the way” and have the confidence that they can handle the physical, mental and emotional stress.
Therefore, an athlete’s physical variables such as body height, body weight, body mass index (BMI) or % body fat have a significant impact on training approach. This can affect methods and schemes for competition and the athlete’s concentration within a given discipline.
In closing, being a successful ice hockey athlete entails the player to perform high-intensity skating and, at times, rapidly change speed and direction, that require a high level of anaerobic capacity. The sport involves irregular work where maximal-intensity energy alternates with low-intensity efforts and it is the responsibility of the athlete to temper both.
Written by James Stavitz, MS, ATC/LAT, ROT, FMSC
Special to Hockey Clan
Main Image: (TORONTO, CANADA – MAY 31: Prospect Travis Sanheim performs a test during the NHL Combine May 31, 2014 at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
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