Fusing training and testing with the 1080 Sprint at The Hockey Summit

Justin Roethlingshoefer used the 1080 Sprint to merge testing and training for on-ice and dry-land work at The Hockey Summit. The data from jump and sprint testing tracked the players’ progression across the six-week camp, with insight at the day-to-day level.

Roethlingshoefer performed on-ice testing with the 1080 Sprint every two weeks, with protocols for skaters and goalies. Skaters would sprint from the goal line to the center line from two different starting positions on each leg: cross-over left under / cross-over right under, and leading with the left / right leg. Goalies would do shuffles, butterfly slides and butterfly pushes to the left and right.

Dry-land testing took place daily. The players performed a standing long jump and single-leg lateral jumps, two tests with well-established correlations to skating performance.

The Hockey Summit staff examined each player’s data to see if either leg or the choice of lead leg revealed a strength deficit. Roethlingshoefer observed a large range in quickness between the athletes. Overall, players with better performance on the jumps had a better speed to peak power, rate of force development and turnover rate. Between the two jumps, the single-leg lateral jumps most closely mirrored the on-ice components.

“Their initial power and their ability to create power more quickly indicates the reactive ability of the body,” Roethlingshoefer said. “Hockey players rarely reach top speed. It’s how quickly you can produce power over a short distance.”

Roethlingshoefer used a 10-second reaction time test with FitLIghts as a measure of central attention and arousal. By comparing these results with their performance on the 1080 Sprint tests he could parse the role of central fatigue or muscular fatigue to explain decrements in jump or skating performance.

The Hockey Summit’s strength coaches and skating coaches coordinated their training for each player. The skating instructors translated the off-ice training into on-ice performance through drills, cuing and additional mobility work. They overlaid video analysis with the 1080 Sprint output to determine the root causes of – and correctives for – deficiencies and asymmetries during the on-ice segments.

Roethlingshoefer summed up how the coaching staff came together to blend mechanics and kinetics: “They see skating, we see power.”

This combination yielded noticeable increases in on-ice power production. Several players increased their peak and average power over a six-second sprint by 10%. Players reduced the asymmetries between legs, in some cases with the previously-weaker leg producing more power on the end-of-training test than the dominant leg performed on the arrival test.

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Justin Roethlingshoefer is preparing for the National Hockey League season, where he is a strength coach with the Anaheim Ducks and San Diego Gulls. He will continue the dry-land testing with the 1080 Sprint every day that he has the team in the gym or at their home rink. This will normally be about four days each week.

“The 1080 Sprint allows quick and effective assessment. We can run the entire team through the long jump and single-leg lateral jump on both legs in about 20 minutes, and it is part of their training as much as it is testing.”

The simplicity and consistency of the tests and output data will allow Roethlingshoefer and his staff to establish baselines for each player. He observed weekly patterns among his athletes at The Hockey Summit, and will do the same with the Ducks and Gulls. As the season wears on and travel, playing and training exerts a toll on the players, he will be able to predict changes in performance due to fatigue and recovery. He can adapt each player’s training accordingly, and make recommendations to the coaching staff.

“Getting buy-in is easy because we have immediate feedback and numbers. We can explain to the coaching staff and the players why we are doing these things, and quantify what we see from the players on the ice.”