A needs analysis and testing battery for field hockey

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Chris Bishop with Jon Brazier, Jon Cree and Anthony Turner

Classically, field hockey has been an intermittent sport, consisting of two 35-minute halves, with a high demand on various facets of physical fitness. Now the demands of the game are changing: a rule change means that international matches will be played in four 15-minute quarters. Existing literature places greater emphasis on physiological facets such as repeated sprint ability (RSA) and aerobic capacity. However, there is limited information available on other components of physical fitness in field hockey, such as agility, change of direction speed, strength and power. A common feature of hockey is the ‘semi-crouched’ position where players are lower to the ground. Classically, this tends to occur when players are in direct possession of the ball such as in the case of a penalty corner push-in. The nature of this position may have implications for potential injuries. However, it must be noted that there is no available literature regarding optimal ranges of motion for dorsiflexion, hip extension or back extension that may depict whether or not players with greater ranges of motion at these joints obtain less injuries. The purpose of this article is to outline the existing research relating to the needs analysis of field hockey, and to offer the S&C coach some insight into useful field-based tests for assessing physical performance.

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