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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2020 Jul 28

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.20.11057-0


language: English

Balance abilities of junior ice hockey players

Lukas ONDRA , Zdenek SVOBODA

Department of Natural Sciences in Kinanthropology, Faculty of Physical Culture, Palacký University Olomouc, Olomouc, Czech Republic


BACKGROUND: Postural control is required during various fast-paced and offensive ice hockey actions, and therefore seems to be an important component in ice hockey performance.
METHODS: Data were collected from two ice hockey teams with differing performance levels. The higher-performance team consisted of 26 players (with ages of 16.3 ± 0.9 y, heights of 178.26 ± 6.71 cm, and weights of 74.3 ± 9.6 kg). The lower-performance team consisted of 19 players (with ages of 16.2 ± 1.8 y, heights of 176.11 ± 9.81 cm, and weights of 68.7 ± 13.9 kg). Each participant performed six unilateral stances under static conditions on a balance pad placed on a force platform, and five bilateral stances under dynamic conditions using a wobble board placed on the force platform.
RESULTS: The higher-level players performed better in the unilateral static stance task in both the anterior-posterior direction and the medial-lateral direction (with a p-value of p <0.001), and total velocity (p = 0.001). The higher-level players also performed better in both the anterior-posterior and medial-lateral directions, and total velocity (with p-value of p <0.001), in the bilateral dynamic stance task and therefore performed significantly better than the lower-level players.
CONCLUSIONS: Hockey players who possess a highly developed postural control strategy have a superior ability to compensate for unexpected postural disturbances and collisions, and thus possess a strong competitive advantage. Therefore, testing the balance abilities of hockey players under static and dynamic conditions may be useful for evaluating their competitive performance levels.

KEY WORDS: Postural control; Athletes; Youth

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