Preliminary Investigation of Executive Functions in Elite Ice Hockey Players

in Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology
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Elite level ice hockey places high demands on player’s physical and technical attributes as well as on cognitive and executive functions. There is, however, a notable lack of research on these attributes and functions. The present study investigated executive function with selected tests from the D-KEFS test battery among 48 ice hockey players and compared them to a standardized sample. Results show that ice hockey players’ scores were significantly higher on Design Fluency (DF) compared with the standardized sample score. Elite players’ scores were not significantly higher than those of lower-league hockey players. A significant correlation was found between on-ice performance and Trail Making Test (TMT) scores. Exploratory analysis showed that elite-level center forwards scored significantly higher on DF than did players in other positions. Future research should investigate whether assessment of executive function should be taken into account, in addition to physical and technical skills, when scouting for the next ice hockey star.

Lundgren is with the Dept. of Neuroscience, Center for Psychiatry Research, Karolinska Institute, Sweden. Högman is with the Dept. of Psychology, Stockholm University, Sweden. Näslund is with MODO Hockey, Sweden. Parling is with the Dept. of Neuroscience, Center for Psychiatry Research, Karolinska Institute, Sweden.

Address author correspondence to Tobias Lundgren at Tobias.lundgren@ki.se
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