Does aerobic fitness or repeated sprint ability fitness influence contribution to play, in female university hockey players? Are the fitness tests used valid methods of assessment?
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The aim of the study was to examine whether aerobic fitness or repeated sprint ability was related to match performance. During the competitive season, twelve UWIC university hockey players, from within the three squads, completed a multi-stage fitness test and two trials of a repeated sprint ability test (10 x 40m on 40 s). These tests are used in hockey, but whether these aspects of fitness relate to match performance is unclear. Match performance was then quantified during fixtures, in real time using the Power system (P.O’Donoghue). Each participant was analysed for a 35 minute duration, of which they were involved on the pitch. The selected measures considered most representative of either test or match performance, were performance level and shuttles achieved for the multi-stage fitness test, average and maximum sprint times (s) plus fatigue index (%) for the repeated sprint tests and percentage of time spent at either low of high intensity to represent match performance. The results indicated only statistically non-significant correlations between the test results and match-related performance. The correlations between the multi-stage fitness test performance and the % of time spent at low and high intensity were (P = 0.527). The correlations between the results of the repeated sprint tests and the % of time spent at low and high intensity were, for average sprint time (s) (P = 0.208), for maximum sprint time (s) (P = 0.80) and for fatigue % (P = 0.602). There were also only statistically non-significant correlations between the level of performance achieved in the multi-stage fitness test and the results from the repeated sprint tests. The correlations between the multi-stage fitness test performance and average sprint time, maximum sprint time and fatigue % were (P = 0.570, P = 0.421, P = 0.419) respectively. In conclusion, this investigation provides no support to the validity of the multi-stage fitness test or repeated sprint test in relation to match performance in female university hockey players.
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