Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of technique training and hockey skate design on hockey skating performance. Fourteen male subjects, aged 12-16 years, with no recent skate treadmill experience completed ten training sessions on a skating treadmill. Instruction emphasized maximizing stride width by pushing laterally with the skate pointed anteriorly. Subjects were randomly placed into one of two experimental groups based on initial skate type: traditional or Easton Mako. After completion of five sessions, skate type was switched so that skate design effects could be assessed. In contrast to a traditional hockey skate design, the Easton Mako skate incorporates a flexible tendon guard allowing greater ankle extension as well as a heat-moldable skate boot for greater conformity to the underlying anatomy. Kinematic data were acquired during submaximal constant speed trials and maximum speed tests, at the first (baseline, skate 1), fifth (post-training, skate 1), sixth (baseline, skate 2), and tenth (post-acclimation, skate 2) training sessions. Treadmill training effects were investigated by contrasting data from sessions 1 and 5, and session6 and 10. Design effects were investigated contrasting data from sessions 5 and 6, and sessions 5 and 10; significance was assessed using paired t-tests. Significant initial training effects included increased stride width and decreased anterior-posterior foot separation at foot off, with the foot less rotated out of the anterior-posterior direction as intended by the specific training program. Other effects included decreased stride rate at a constant speed and increased maximum speed. Initial training effects held through the latter training sessions suggesting five sessions were sufficient to adapt to the treadmill training. Significant skate design effects included decreased sagittal ankle range of motion (ROM), decreased stride rate at constant speed, increased stride width and increased maximum speed with the Mako skate. The decreased sagittal plane ankle ROM, perhaps counterintuitive with the more flexible skate design, may be indicative of a more natural ankle movement. As for treadmill training, the increased maximum speed in concert with decreased stride rate suggest potentially more efficient stride with the Mako skate.