Kilpivaara, P. 2012. Ice hockey goaltending: physiological loading and game analysis. Master’s thesis in Science of Sport Coaching and Fitness Testing. Department of Biology and Physical activity, University of Jyväskylä. 77 pp.
The ice hockey goaltenders have been acknowledged as crucial components of team success in ice hockey. The goaltending position differs greatly from forwards and defensemen and is therefore a very specialized position in ice hockey. As of yet, there has not been any in depth research directed to examine the goaltending game performance. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the physiological loading of playing a game and also the action and performance during the game.
The measurements were done in the autumn of 2011 during the pre-competitive season. 9 subjects participated in the study of which 4 played in the elite league (SM-liiga), 2 in the second league (Mestis) and 3 in the A-junior elite league (A-SM). The measurements were done prior to-, during and after playing a game of ice hockey. The measurements included physical performance tests (Agility test, CMJ, Standing long jump, Isometric leg press, isometric trunk flexion and extension) that were done prior to and after the game. Blood lactate was measured prior to, during and after the game and heart rate was monitored for the entire game. All games were videotaped and analyzed with three separate video analysis methods. The actions that the goaltenders performed during the game, the working periods and their intensity and game performance were analyzed.
The physical performance tests showed that goaltenders physical performance declined or stayed the same from pre-to-post game and that there is clear inter-individual variation in physical performance from pre to post game. Performance changes correlated with the number of fast/explosive actions that were recorded from the working duration and intensity analysis. Statistically significant correlations were found between the number of fast/explosive working periods in the game and agility performance (r = -0,708, p<0,05), lower extremity power (r = -0,713, p<0,05) and sum of all leg measures (r = -0,803, p<0,05). Blood lactate showed only slight increases from resting levels. Heart rate for the entire game was on average 149 bpm ± 6.3 and averages of 159 bpm, 156 bpm and 154 bpm for each of the periods (1-3 periods). The action analysis showed that horizontal movement by utilizing c-cuts (skating technique) accounted for most of the total number of actions (36% / 140,2 ±34,7) and vertical movement for 17% / 66,8 ±13,6.
The working periods and intensity analysis showed that the subjects performed mostly low intensity working periods, whereas there were still a high number of short duration fast/explosive actions that took place inside of these low intensity working periods. The study indicates that physical performance is prone to decline, but that declines are highly individual. Blood lactate levels indicate that even though there are high intensive working periods in the game, there were adequate recovery periods or amount of low intensity working periods during the game, to allow sufficient recovery. Heart rate data indicated a need for good baseline endurance to endure game performance and promote recovery from high intensive working periods. The video analysis and the results from these analyses yielded important information about the nature of the physiological loading, game performance, demands and trends of the position, which are discussed in further detail in the research.||