Game Intensity Analysis of Elite Adolescent Ice Hockey Players

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The purpose of this study was to determine ice-hockey players’ playing intensity based on their heart rates (HRs) recorded during a game and on the outcomes of an incremental maximum oxygen uptake test. Twenty ice-hockey players, members of the Polish junior national team (U18), performed an incremental test to assess their maximal oxygen uptake (V̇ O2max) in the two week’s period preceding 5 games they played at the World Championships. Players’ HRs at the first and second ventilatory thresholds obtained during the test were utilized to determine intensity zones (low, moderate, and high) that were subsequently used to classify HR values recorded during each of the games. For individual intensity zones, the following HRs expressed as mean values and as percentages of the maximal heart rate (HRmax) were obtained: forwards 148-158 b⋅min-1 (79.5-84.8% HRmax), 159-178 b⋅min-1 (85.4-95.6% HRmax), 179-186 b⋅min-1 (96.1-100.0% HRmax); defensemen 149-153 b⋅min-1 (80.0-82.1% HRmax), 154-175 b⋅min-1 (82.6- 94.0% HRmax), 176-186 b⋅min-1 (94.5-100.0% HRmax). The amount of time the forwards and defensemen spent in the three intensity zones expressed as percentages of the total time of the game were: 54.91 vs. 55.62% (low), 26.40 vs. 22.38% (moderate) and 18.68 vs. 22.00% (high). The forwards spent more time in the low intensity zone than the defensemen, however, the difference was not statistically significant. The results of the study indicate that using aerobic and anaerobic metabolism variables to determine intensity zones can significantly improve the reliability of evaluation of the physiological demands of the game, and can be a useful tool for coaches in managing the training process.

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