Australia’s interest and participation in ice hockey is increasing, however a lack of access to facilities means familiarity with this sport is limited, and so too is the facilitation of skill development within an ecologically valid context.
While numerous methods may be employed to address this, one resource which remains relatively unexplored is the StrideDeck Treadmill (SDT), therefore the purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of this equipment with specific reference to the biomechanical changes for skating ability.
N = 16 male athletes (Mage = 15.0 ± 0.76 yrs) from a junior league competition participated in this intervention based study. N = 9 were assigned to the training intervention (StrideDeck) once a week, while the control group (n = 7) continued their normal training routines. Further, monthly sprint tests both on the SDT and an on-ice protocol were conducted to track progress via kinematic analysis.
Fig 1. Kinematic markers identify the movements analysed.
Medial/leg adduction, lateral leg abduction, and foot/ankle
Data analysis revealed no significant overall effects for on ice sprint skating performance after SDT training; however, there were significant kinematic differences between SDT and ice conditions.
Analysis of sprint times returned no significant main effects for Group F(1, 15) = 1.16, p = .299 or session F(3, 29) = 0.54, p = .659, nor was there a significant Group x Session interaction F(3, 29) = 1.12, p = .359. While training and control groups returned differences between pre- and post-tests, these times were not significant (Table 1).
Table 1. Mean sprint time differences between the training and control groups based on session, presented as mean (standard deviation).
Analysis of medial kinematic data returned a significant overall effect for Session F(3, 462) = 36.06, p = < .001 (Figure 4), as well as a significant Session x Leg interaction F(3, 461) = 9.45, p = <.001. When legs were combined, there were significant differences in average medial angles between ice and SDT sessions (Table 2). Further, the significant interaction is attributable to differences between left and right legs in pre-ice, as well as post-deck sessions (Table 3).
Analysis of lateral kinematic data returned a significant overall effect for Session F(3,462) = 18.88, p = <.001, as well as a significant Session x Leg interaction F(3,461) = 9.39, p = <.001 (Table 3). When legs were combined, there were again significant differences in average lateral angles between ice and SDT sessions (Table 2).
Analysis of ankle kinematic data returned a significant overall effect for Session F(3,462) = 49.27, p = <.001, Leg F(1, 460) = 8.77, p = .003 (Figure 5), as well as a significant Session x Leg interaction F(3,461) = 5.39, p = <.001 (Table 3). When legs were combined, again there were significant differences in ankle angles between ice and SDT sessions (Table 2). When sessions were combined, there was a greater angle in the right (M = 155.60, SD = 5.14) compared to the left ankle (M = 152.74, SD = 5.18).
Overall, the SDT resulted in significant biomechanical differences, e.g., differences in leg abduction, adduction, and ankle flexion when compared to ice conditions; however this did not translate to improved sprint ability on ice. It is likely the motor patterns for the SDT compare to on-ice sprinting are dissimilar, thus the associated mechanics for each surface do not correlate with each other. We therefore suggest that the SDT in its current form does not provide suitable platform for skill development, though may be useful for improved fitness. Future studies could possibly assess whether the SDT can be utilised as a fitness method to increased skating endurance.
Simulation training, skill acquisition, treadmill, ice skating, ice hockey skating, ice skating stride.
Washington, N.J., Dogramaci, S., Steel, K. & Ellem, E. (2016). The use of simulation training to accelerate the rate of forward ice skating skill acquisition. International Journal of Kinesiology and Sports Science. 4(2):40-9.
We are thankful to the Canterbury Ice Hockey Team for volunteering their time to participate. We are also grateful for the NSW Institute of Sport for providing the equipment and supporting our study.