Does Sprint Speed Correlate With Skating Speed?

Online take offBefore reviewing an article looking at skating speed in hockey players, I am going to apologize.  If the article below seems a little disjointed, I wrote it on the plane home from Vegas yesterday…no, it is not what you think.  I was feeling just fine – I don’t go out and party, not worth it for me to stay up past my bedtime 🙂  But I am pretty sure the lady sitting next to me on the plane had no problem with the party scene.

I have no idea what she was on, but she could not sit still so between talking to herself (literally) and getting up with her knees on the seat and leaning over me to see out the window (like you would expect from a 3-year old, not a 40-something).  I LOVE my personal space, so I was super distracted.  Ever have a flight like that?

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HOCKEY SKATING SPEED AND SELECTED PERFORMANCE MEASURES. DAVID G. BEHM, MICHAEL J. WAHL, DUANE C. BUTTON, KEVIN E. POWER, AND KENNETH G. ANDERSON School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.

I had the chance to review this article by Dr. Behm and his colleagues at Memorial University in Newfoundland.  The purpose of the study was to see if there were performance measures that correlated with skating speed on the ice.  So they looked at things like 40-yard dash time, balance, vertical jump (no counter movement), flexibility, 1RM leg press and box drops.

The results surprised me in some ways – the vertical jump did not correlate with skating speed.  So the players with the fastest skating speed, did not have the higher vertical jump.  This could have something to do with the research design as well, since they measured the speed with a flying start, so acceleration was not a factor.

Since acceleration requires more impulse power, it does make sense that in this experiment there was no correlation.

The two factors that did correlate were 40-yard sprint time and balance.  Interestingly, the balance was only a factor in players under the age of 19.  I would hypothesize that players beyond the age of 19 have better developed their stability both on and off the ice, so it is less of a factor.

This suggests two things – we do need to keep training balance.  Those with better balance off the ice were also faster skaters, so it is worthwhile spending time during each workout challenging the athlete’s balance.  At Revolution Conditioning we often use balance drills during our dynamic warm up and as active rest between sets of speed and agility training.

We work specifically on sprinting speed off the ice as part of our energy system training, using both acceleration drills and shuttle runs.  Although the research did not look at an intervention and outcome, again I think it is compelling enough to reinforce the use of sprint training off-ice as part of our off-season training program.

This may be particularly useful for athletes who do not have access to ice during much of the summer.

You can find sample balance drills here –

Here is the direct link to the video if you cannot see it in the player above:
http://youtu.be/CBowfz98Xgo

Here is the direct video link if you cannot see it in the player above:
http://youtu.be/A4e1_jrf2FY

Here is a sprinting drill that we use during the off-season…

Sprint the length of a soccer pitch and walk the width.  Repeat until you have done 10 sprints in total.  As the player progresses through the off-season, cut the length of the sprint down to half the length of the soccer pitch to work a little more on your high speed, short duration sprints.  Repeat the pattern until you have done 10 sprints.  At this stage you would also be doing some transition sprinting, incorporating acceleration, deceleration and change of direction.

If you would like to review the article for yourself, you can find it here – http://www.fittech.com.au/downloads/kmsdocs/behmkmspage2-3.pdf

Cheers,
Maria