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The performance of the ice hockey slap and wrist shots: the effects of stick construction and player skill


The purpose of this study was to examine the interaction of players’ skill level, body strength, and sticks of various construction and stiffness on the performance of the slap and wrist shots in ice hockey. Twenty male and twenty female subjects were tested. Ten of each gender group were considered skilled and ten unskilled. In addition to general strength tests, each subject performed the slap and wrist shots with three stick shafts of different construction and stiffness. Shot mechanics were evaluated by simultaneously recording ground reaction forces from a force plate, stick movement and bending from high speed filming and peak puck velocity from a radar gun. Data were analysed with a 4-way repeated measures ANOVA for several dependent variables including peak puck velocity, peak Z (vertical) force, peak bending and stick to ground angles, peak angular deflection of the shaft, and hand placement on the stick. The results indicated that: 1) the slap shot was much faster than the wrist shot corresponding to greater vertical loading force, stick bending, and greater width of the hand placement; 2) the puck velocity was influenced by skill level and body strength but not stick type; and, 3) that skilled players were able to generate more vertical force and bend of the stick, in part, by adjusting their hand positions on the stick. Further studies are needed to address the specific influence of body strength and skill on the techniques of these shots and in relation to stick material and construction properties.

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Correspondence to D. Pearsall Ph.D..

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Wu, T.C., Pearsall, D., Hodges, A. et al. The performance of the ice hockey slap and wrist shots: the effects of stick construction and player skill. Sports Eng 6, 31–39 (2003).

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