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Physiological- and Socio-Cultural Conditions for Performance in Women's Ice Hockey
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Sports medicine. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå Centre for Gender Studies (UCGS).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5536-8166
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Fysiologiska och sociokulturella förutsättningar för prestation inom damishockey (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Background: The ice hockey community is founded on masculine norms and values, and the hockey rink is often described as “the home of men’s ice hockey”. Despite a growing popularity, women’s ice hockey has low priority in comparison to the men’s game. On top of that, the women’s game does not allow body checking, which makes it deviant from what some see as “the real game of ice hockey”. The checking prohibition causes physiological requirements to differ from the men’s game, and since women are underrepresented in ice hockey research, not much is known regarding the physiological- and socio-cultural conditions of women’s ice hockey. The overall aim of this doctoral thesis is to investigate physiological- and socio-cultural conditions important for performance in women’s ice hockey.

Methods: This thesis is unique in terms of the interdisciplinary approach between physiology and gender science, and the inclusion of studies based on both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Qualitative thematic interviews with ice hockey coaches from Sweden, Canada, and the United States were used to explore socio-cultural conditions in relation to performance and sport development (Paper I). Relative age effect (RAE) in relation to maturity status was examined through anthropometric measurements and a player questionnaire (Paper II). Physiological field- and laboratory assessments were used to investigate physiological conditions and performance in female competitive ice hockey players from Sweden (Paper III-IV), and players from Canada (Paper IV).

Results: The findings from Paper I suggest that coaches need to maintain a holistic approach to coaching to be able to coordinate and optimize the effects based on available conditions. Socio-cultural conditions, such as structural and financial support, are mentioned as important to support opportunities in women’s ice hockey. Furthermore, the results (Paper I) show that female players in Canada and the United States have superior opportunities compared to female players in Sweden. These advantages are mainly attributed to the support provided by the North American education systems. The findings from Paper II suggest that the relative age effect (RAEs) in women’s hockey are also influenced by socio-cultural conditions. Significant RAE (p<.05) was found for Swedish players born in the third quartile (Q3) and for Canadian player born in the second quartile (Q2). Players born in the fourth quartile (Q4) are significantly (p<.05) underrepresentated in both countries. Players tend to be average or late maturers, but no differences can be found by country or position. The findings from Paper III show that field-based assessments are comparable to laboratory assessments with the purpose of predicting skating performance. The Prediction models accounted for 13.6 % to 42 % (laboratory-based models) and 24.4 to 66.3 % (field-based models) of the variance in skating time. Regardless of assessment method, uni-lateral assessments are superior to bi-lateral assessments. The results support the use of field-based assessments in Paper IV. The findings from Paper IV show various physiological profiles for female Swedish and Canadian players. Swedish players had less body fat (p=.007), more lean mass (p=.005), and greater aerobic fitness measured with the20-meter shuttle run beep test (p=<.001). Canadian players had greater maximal isometric leg strength (p=.026), exhibit a greater running acceleration (p=<.001), performed better in single leg standing long jumps (right leg p=.002, left leg p=.030), and showed better anaerobic endurance (p=.029) on- ice. No significant differences can be found between forwards and defenders.

Conclusion: The findings of this study show that physiological- and socio-cultural conditions should both be considered in relation to performance in women’s ice hockey. For example, the various physiological profiles are probably an effect of the different socio-cultural conditions in Sweden and Canada. The Canadian profile may be better adapted to performance in ice hockey, but further research is needed to establish a relationship. Since women’s ice hockey often has somewhat limited resources, this knowledge may help optimize the effect of the available resources, and thus improve performance. Improved performance may have a positive long-term effect on the symbolic view of women’s ice hockey. Women can probably further optimize their physical performance in relation to their current conditions. But for permanent changes to occur, power structures in sport must also change. Women themselves have limited opportunities to affect the dominating gender norms and values in ice hockey.

Abstract [sv]

Bakgrund: Ishockeysamhället är grundat på maskulina normer och värderingar, och hockeyrinken beskrivs ofta som "herrishockeyns hem ". Trots en växande popularitet är damishockey lågt prioriterad i jämförelse med herrishockey. Tacklingar är inte tillåtna i damishockey, vilket gör att den skiljer sig från herrishockey som ofta benämns som "riktig ishockey". Tacklingsförbudet innebär att de fysiologiska kraven förändras gentemot om tacklingar skulle vara tillåtna, och det medför att studier gjorda på herrishockey inte är generaliserbara till damishockey. Eftersom kvinnor är underrepresenterade i ishockeyforskning så saknas det kunskap om de fysiologiska såväl som sociokulturella förutsättningarna inom damishockey. Det övergripande syftet med denna doktorsavhandling är att undersöka fysiologiska och sociokulturella förhållanden som är viktiga för prestation i damishockey.

Metod: Denna avhandling är unik när det gäller det tvärvetenskapliga tillvägagångssättet mellan fysiologi och genus, samt att den inkluderar studier gjorda med både kvalitativa och kvantitativa metoder. Kvalitativa tematiska intervjuer med ishockeytränare från Sverige, Kanada och USA användes för att utforska sociokulturella förhållanden i förhållande till prestation och idrottsutveckling (Studie I). Relativ ålderseffekt (RAE) i förhållande till mognadsstatus undersöktes genom antropometriska mätningar och en spelarenkät (Studie II). Fysiologiska fält- och laboratorietester användes för att undersöka fysiologiska förhållanden och prestation hos kvinnliga ishockeyspelare från Sverige (Studie III-IV) samt Kanada (Studie IV).

Resultat: Resultaten från Studie I visar att tränare måste försöka ha ett helhetsperspektiv för att kunna samordna resurser och optimera effekterna av dessa utifrån sina förutsättningar. Sociokulturella förhållanden, såsom strukturellt och ekonomiskt stöd, nämns som viktiga faktorer för att skapa utvecklingsmöjligheter inom damishockey. Dessutom visar resultaten (Studie I) att kvinnliga ishockeyspelare i Kanada och USA har överlägsna förutsättningar jämfört med kvinnliga ishockeyspelare i Sverige. Dessa fördelar uppkommer främst på grund av det ekonomiska och strukturella stöd som de nordamerikanska utbildningssystemen bidrar med. Resultaten från Studie II föreslår att även relativ ålderseffekt (RAE) i damishockey påverkas av sociokulturella förhållanden. Signifikant RAE (p <.05) hittades för svenska spelare födda i tredje kvartilen (Q3) och för kanadensiska spelare födda i andra kvartilen (Q2). Spelare födda i fjärde kvartilen (Q4) är signifikant (p <0,05) underrepresenterade i båda länderna. Mognadsstatusen på spelarna uppmättes till medel eller sen utifrån tid för första menstruation, men inga skillnader hittades mellan länderna eller mellan positioner. Resultaten från Studie III visar att fälttester är jämförbara med laboratorietester när syftet är att prediktera skridskoåkningsförmåga. Prediktionsmodellerna förklarade 13.6 % to 42 % (laboratoriebaserade modeller) och 24.4 % to 66.3 % (fältbaserade modeller) av variansen i åktid. Oavsett bedömningsmetod visar sig unilaterala tester överlägsna bilaterala tester att prediktera skridskoåkningsförmåga. Resultaten stöder valet av fälttester i Studie IV. Resultaten från Studie IV visar att de svenska och kanadensiska spelarna hade olika fysiologiska profiler. De svenska spelare hade mindre kroppsfett (p = .007), mer fettfri massa (p = .005) och högre aerob kapacitet mätt genom beeptest (p = <.001). De kanadensiska spelare hade högre maximal isometrisk benstyrka (p = .026), bättre löpacceleration (p = <. 001), bättre hoppkapacitet i stående längdhopp på ett ben (höger ben p = .002, vänster ben p = .030) och högre anaerob uthållighet (p = 0,29) på MRSS. Inga signifikanta skillnader hittades mellan forwards och backar.

Slutsats: Resultaten från denna avhandling visar att såväl fysiologiska som sociokulturella förhållanden bör beaktas i förhållande till prestation i damishockey. Till exempel är de olika fysiologiska profilerna troligen en effekt av de olika sociokulturella förhållandena i Sverige och Kanada. Den kanadensiska profilen kan vara bättre anpassad till prestation i ishockey men ytterligare forskning behövs för att fastställa om det finns ett verkligt samband. Eftersom damishockeyn ofta har begränsade resurser kan den här kunskapen bidra till att damlag kan nyttja sina resurser på ett mer effektivt sätt och därmed förbättra sin prestation. En förbättrad prestation skulle kunna ha en positiv effekt på damishockeyns symboliska värde, men för att permanenta förändringar ska uppstå måste maktstrukturerna i sporten också förändras. Kvinnorna själva har begränsade möjligheter att påverka den dominerande könsnormen i ishockey.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2017. , p. 52
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1934
Keywords [en]
women's ice hockey, female hockey players, positional characteristics, birth distribution, maturity status, exercise physiology, test methodology, sport, physiological characteristics
National Category
Physiology Gender Studies
Research subject
Physiology; genusvetenskap
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-142866ISBN: 978-91-7601-811-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-142866DiVA, id: diva2:1165253
Public defence
2018-01-12, Betula, NUS, Medicinska Biblioteket, Umeå, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
The Kempe FoundationsAvailable from: 2017-12-15 Created: 2017-12-12 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Running a team is like laying a puzzle: elite coaches' experiences of women's ice hockey
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Running a team is like laying a puzzle: elite coaches' experiences of women's ice hockey
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The aim of the study was to explore aspects important for sport development and performance in women’s ice hockey, and to reflect on the conditions in Sweden and in North America.

Method: Data were collected using individual interviews analyzed by qualitative content analysis. The sample including eight ice hockey coaches, two women and six men from being active coaches for female teams on the highest national level.

Result: The analysis resulted in the theme “Coaching with a holistic approach” and three categories; “Individually oriented and humane leadership”, “Insight and understanding of performance requirements”, and “Necessary conditions for sport development”. The results displayed the complex task of managing a top-level team. In order to coordinate available preconditions into a beneficial environment for the players to develop and perform, the coached had adopted a holistic approach to coaching. A holistic approach to coaching was considered necessary to promote human-, as well as athletic-development in WIH.

Conclusion: This study suggests that leadership, conditions and requirement of the game, are interrelated and all has to be considered to meet the requirements of the sport and provide opportunities for development. Furthermore, we suggest WIH would benefit from being treated as its own unique experience, instead of being compared to MIH.

Keywords
Gender relations, Athletic performance, Group processes, Coaching strategies
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Physiology; genusvetenskap
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-142862 (URN)
Funder
The Kempe Foundations
Available from: 2017-12-12 Created: 2017-12-12 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved
2. Relative age effects in women's ice hockey: international comparisons
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Relative age effects in women's ice hockey: international comparisons
Show others...
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Research on international differences in relative age effects (RAEs) and physical factors that influence RAEs that may vary by player position in women’s ice hockey is limited. Thus, our aims were to examine differences in RAEs by country, and to examine differences in maturity status and body size in women’s ice hockey players by country, position, and birthdate distributions. Participants were 54 Swedish elite and 63 Canadian university players. Birthdates were coded by quartiles (Q1-Q4) and half-years (H1, H2). Weight and height were obtained, and BMI and chronological age were calculated for each player. Players recalled age at menarche, and maturity status was classified as early, average, or late relative to population means. Chi-square (X2), Odds Ratios (OR), and 95% Confidence Intervals (CI) and effect sizes (Cohen’s w) were calculated using population data. Descriptive statistics and MANOVAs were run by quartile and half-year, country, and player position (forward, defender, goalie). Significant RAEs were found for Swedish players (Q3:Q4) and Canadian players (Q2:Q3, Q3:Q4, H1:H2; p<0.05). Q4 was significantly underrepresented in both countries (p<0.05). Swedish players were significantly older than Canadian players. Players tended to be average and late maturers, and maturity status and body size did not differ significantly by country, position, quartile or half-year. Our findings regarding RAEs support those of earlier studies, and the overrepresentations in Q2 and Q3 are difficult to explain. Moderators of RAEs (i.e., body size, maturity status, sociocultural factors) warrant further examination by country and position in larger samples of women’s ice hockey players. 

Keywords
birth distribution, female hockey, player position, maturity status
National Category
Physiology
Research subject
Physiology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-142865 (URN)
Funder
The Kempe Foundations
Available from: 2017-12-12 Created: 2017-12-12 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved
3. Laboratory- and field-based testing as predictors of skating performance in competetive-level female ice hockey
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Laboratory- and field-based testing as predictors of skating performance in competetive-level female ice hockey
2016 (English)In: Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine, ISSN 1179-1543, E-ISSN 1179-1543, Vol. 7, p. 81-88Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to examine whether field-based and/or laboratory-based assessments are valid tools for predicting key performance characteristics of skating in competitive-level female hockey players.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

METHODS: Twenty-three female ice hockey players aged 15-25 years (body mass: 66.1±6.3 kg; height: 169.5±5.5 cm), with 10.6±3.2 years playing experience volunteered to participate in the study. The field-based assessments included 20 m sprint, squat jump, countermovement jump, 30-second repeated jump test, standing long jump, single-leg standing long jump, 20 m shuttle run test, isometric leg pull, one-repetition maximum bench press, and one-repetition maximum squats. The laboratory-based assessments included body composition (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry), maximal aerobic power, and isokinetic strength (Biodex). The on-ice tests included agility cornering s-turn, cone agility skate, transition agility skate, and modified repeat skate sprint. Data were analyzed using stepwise multivariate linear regression analysis. Linear regression analysis was used to establish the relationship between key performance characteristics of skating and the predictor variables.

RESULTS: Regression models (adj R2) for the on-ice variables ranged from 0.244 to 0.663 for the field-based assessments and from 0.136 to 0.420 for the laboratory-based assessments. Single-leg tests were the strongest predictors for key performance characteristics of skating. Single leg standing long jump alone explained 57.1%, 38.1%, and 29.1% of the variance in skating time during transition agility skate, agility cornering s-turn, and modified repeat skate sprint, respectively. Isokinetic peak torque in the quadriceps at 90° explained 42.0% and 32.2% of the variance in skating time during agility cornering s-turn and modified repeat skate sprint, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Field-based assessments, particularly single-leg tests, are an adequate substitute to more expensive and time-consuming laboratory assessments if the purpose is to gain knowledge about key performance characteristics of skating.

Keywords
exercise physiology, physiological characteristics, sport, test methodology
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Physiology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-129435 (URN)10.2147/OAJSM.S109124 (DOI)000399933700002 ()27574474 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2016-12-28 Created: 2016-12-28 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved
4. Performance profiling of female ice hockey players by country and position
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Performance profiling of female ice hockey players by country and position
Show others...
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The purposes of this study were to determine whether physiological qualities and on- ice skating performance differ by country and by position in women’s ice hockey.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Methods: A total of 109 female ice hockey players volunteered for the study: 45 players from Sweden (19.38 ± 2.56 years; body mass 69.43 ± 7.05 kg: height 169.83 ± 5.03 cm) and 64 players from Canada (19.84 ± 1.62 years; body mass 68.28 ± 7.72 kg: height 166.14 ± 13.67 cm). Anthropometric assessments included estimated body composition using skinfold measurements. Physiological assessments included tests for acceleration, strength, power and aerobic endurance. Performance assessments included on-ice agility and anaerobic tests. Data were analyzed for mean differences by country and position using a two-way ANOVA.

Results: The Swedish players had less body fat (p=.007), more lean mass (p=.005), and higher Beep test scores (p=.001). The Canadian players performed better on leg strength (p=.026), acceleration (p=.001), single leg standing long jumps (right leg p=.002, left leg p=.030) and the modified repeat sprint skate (MRSS) (p=.029). Positional comparisons between forwards (F) and defenders (D) showed no significant differences. F and D performed better than goalies (G) on the beep test (p=.002 and p=.002, respectively).

Conclusion: The findings showed that the physiological profile for the female ice hockey players in this sample differed by country. The results indicate that the Canadian profile may be better adapted for on-ice performance. No performance differences were found between F and D. G are subjected to completely different requirements, due to variation in equipment and movement patterns, and should not be compared to F and D.

Keywords
women's ice hockey, exercise physiology, test methodology, sport, physiological characteristics
National Category
Physiology
Research subject
Physiology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-142863 (URN)
Available from: 2017-12-12 Created: 2017-12-12 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved

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