Effect of Puck Mass as a Task Constraint on Skilled and Less-Skilled Ice Hockey Players Performance

in Journal of Motor Learning and Development
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Manipulation of task constraints have previously been effective in task simplification enhancing skill development. This study examines how manipulation of puck masses affects movement behaviors in skilled and less-skilled ice hockey players during a representative ice hockey task. Fifty participants were separated into a skilled (n = 25) or less-skilled (n = 25) group. Three trials per condition of an obstacle course and breakaway goal attempt were completed in a counter-balanced design using three puck masses, categorized as light (133 g), regulation (170 g), and heavy (283 g). Findings revealed that use of the light puck by less-skilled participants reduced obstacle-course completion time (p < .05, ηp2=.781) and error occurrence (p < .05, ηp2=.699) while improving shot accuracy (p < .05, ηp2=.430) and goal success (p < .05, ηp2=.092) compared to the regulation and heavy puck. However, skilled participants had a decrease in performance when deviating from the regulation puck for all the dependent measures excluding an increase in goal success when using the light puck (p < .05, ηp2=.430). Findings demonstrated the functional coupling of puck mass and movement behaviors are dependent on the skill level of the performer.

Nimmins, Strafford, and Stone are with the Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, United Kingdom.

Address author correspondence to Joseph Stone at joseph.stone@shu.ac.uk.
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