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Sports Medicine

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 505–516 | Cite as

Performance Characteristics of Long-Track Speed Skaters: A Literature Review

  • Marco J. Konings
  • Marije T. Elferink-Gemser
  • Inge K. Stoter
  • Dirk van der Meer
  • Egbert Otten
  • Florentina J. HettingaEmail author
Review Article

Abstract

Speed skating is an intriguing sport to study from different perspectives due to the peculiar way of motion and the multiple determinants for performance. This review aimed to identify what is known on (long-track) speed skating, and which individual characteristics determine speed skating performance. A total of 49 studies were included. Based on a multidimensional performance model, person-related performance characteristics were categorized in anthropometrical, technical, physiological, tactical, and psychological characteristics. Literature was found on anthropometry, technique, physiology, and tactics. However, psychological studies were clearly under-represented. In particular, the role of self-regulation might deserve more attention to further understand mechanisms relevant for optimal performance and for instance pacing. Another remarkable finding was that the technically/biomechanically favourable crouched skating technique (i.e. small knee and trunk angle) leads to a physiological disadvantage: a smaller knee angle may increase the deoxygenation of the working muscles. This is an important underlying aspect for the pacing tactics in speed skating. Elite speed skaters need to find the optimal balance between obtaining a fast start and preventing negative technical adaptations later on in the race by distributing their available energy over the race in an optimal way. More research is required to gain more insight into how this impacts on the processes of fatigue and coordination during speed skating races. This can lead to a better understanding on how elite speed skaters can maintain the optimal technical characteristics throughout the entire race, and how they can adapt their pacing to optimize all identified aspects that determine performance.

Keywords

Knee Angle Reduce Blood Flow Pace Strategy Fast Start Mechanical Power Output 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review. The authors have no potential conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marco J. Konings
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marije T. Elferink-Gemser
    • 2
    • 3
  • Inge K. Stoter
    • 2
  • Dirk van der Meer
    • 2
  • Egbert Otten
    • 2
  • Florentina J. Hettinga
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, School of Biological SciencesUniversity of EssexColchesterUK
  2. 2.Center of Human Movement Sciences, University Medical Center GroningenUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Institute for Studies in Sports and ExerciseHAN University of Applied SciencesArnhem-NijmegenThe Netherlands

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