Blog Sports

Are On-Ice Skating Tests Essential for Coaches Who Evaluate Hockey Players?

On-ice skating tests are often used to evaluate essential performance attributes in competitive-level hockey players, including agility and speed. A recent study provides insights for coaches, that may help them pick the best tests and exercises to assess hockey players.

Ice hockey advanced statistics provide a level of detail about a player that you can't get from a box score.

Michael Bournival led a study titled: The Science and Art of Testing in Ice Hockey: A Systematic Review of Twenty Years of Research,” at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. 

Researchers carried out a comprehensive search on three databases: PubMed, SPORTDiscus, and Scopus, adhering to the PRISMA guidelines, and then analyzed four categories of observations: the population under study, the reported on-ice test(s), outcome measures, and main findings.

Check out our guide on hockey analytics: How to Dominate the Ice with Data!” 

Download Guide

55 On-Ice Tests Reviewed

hockey analytics are used to measure and test players during training and games.

The review included 107 articles, resulting in 55 on-ice tests related to the on-ice assessments of four major athletic components, which included: 

  • Aerobic capacity (7 tests) 
  • Acceleration-speed (6 tests) 
  • Agility and change of direction (23 tests) 
  • Repeated skating sprint ability (19 tests) 

Most of the tests were conducted on male and older cohorts (16 years and above), primarily at the competitive amateur level.

KINEXON Sports and Dartfish are partnering to provide Unparalleled Insights. Merging KINEXON’s precise player tracking with Dartfish’s advanced puck tracking provides comprehensive visibility into the game.

Learn More

Tests Designed to Evaluate More Than Fitness

The selected tests were primarily designed for assessing on-ice physiological responses and fitness (38 tests), talent identification-team selection (19 tests), efficiency of interventions (17 tests), and validation purposes (16 tests). 

This shows the versatility of on-ice tests and their adaptability to various needs and goals.

On-Ice Testing Considered Relevant

A data-driven hockey approach only tells a coach so much, so on-ice testing is used to ensure players are peaking

The review found that on-ice skating tests, which evaluate the capacity for repeated intense efforts, agility, acceleration, and speed, are directly relevant to match requirements. The variety of on-ice tests cited in literature underscores the necessity to tailor the evaluation process to the specific population, constraints, and objectives. 

The study’s findings provide a versatile toolkit for coaches and researchers alike, facilitating the assessment of hockey players across various levels. It guides them in choosing procedures that align best with their specific environment and practice context.

How to Incorporate On-Ice Testing

hockey analytics help coaches assess players during on-ice testing, training sessions, and games.

Coaches can incorporate on-ice tests into practice drills to enhance players’ skills at a fast pace. For instance, they can start practice with an agility test that concludes with a shot. This helps players improve their agility and skills in a way that mirrors real game situations.

Another option is to use the skating sprint ability test at the end of practice. Coaches can include multiple shots during each recovery period. This helps players learn to maintain accurate shots even when they’re tired, and it makes the conditioning part of the drill more enjoyable.

For strength and conditioning coaches, it’s important to assess all four physical attributes. This helps them design tailored training programs and check the results of specific ice hockey conditioning training.

Hockey Analytics Provide Valuable Information for Coaches

hockey analytics are tracked by sensors to help coaches gauge the effect of on-ice testing.

Taking a data-driven hockey approach during training and games can help coaches. It provides objective measurements, targets and goals players need to hit. 

To learn more about how data and hockey analytics may help your organization, contact us at any time.

Or download our case study that explains how hockey analytics and performance diagnostics are being used in the German Ice Hockey Federation. 

Download Case Study

More stories

Coaches who use a data-driven hockey software get better insights to make decisions.
What Data-Driven Hockey Software and Puck Data Can Do for Coaches and Players

The power of data in ice hockey is eye-opening. Analytics are enhancing player performance, strategic decision-making, and training development. But those aren’t the only ways data-driven hockey software is reshaping the game.

IMU data is collected during indoor sports lake handball, basketball, and volleyball to manage player workloads.
What Does an IMU Sensor Track in Elite Handball?

Handball players move fast and put lots of stress on their bodies. But more coaches are discovering that using the most-used load management system in sports helps to keep them on the court and playing their best for longer periods.

an athlete gps tracker is used by coaches to monitor how well a player is performing in many outdoor sports.
What Kind of Data Does a GPS Tracker for Football Players Provide?

Technology has become an integral part of enhancing player performance and reducing injuries. One such example is the GPS tracker for football players. But what kind of data does it provide? And what does this information tell coaches and players?

Paul Koier is with the UNC Charlotte 49ers Sport Performance Staff working with the women's basketball and women's tennis teams.
The Connection Between Basketball Data, Point Spreads, and Sports Performance

When it comes to women’s college basketball, every edge counts, both mentally and physically. This ensures the best possible outcome on game day. Even if it means using the daily line as motivation.

Eric Donoval is the director of sports performance for the football team at the University of Wyoming.
How Coaches Balance Football Analytics and Coach’s Intuition When Making Player Decisions

The interplay between hard data and human intuition in football is a delicate dance. Eric Donoval, the Director of Sports Performance for the University of Wyoming football team, provided insightful commentary on this intricate balance on a recent episode of The Xtra Edge” podcast.

Why Integrating Match and Training Data is Critical for Football Coaches

More and more coaches are taking advantage of the powerful combination of match data and GPS-based training data. This fusion of information is providing unprecedented insights into player performance, team dynamics, and game strategy.

GPS football tracking sensors are worn by players as a coach watches a dashboard that displays performance metrics.
How Coaches Are Unlocking Football Players’ Potential with GPS Tracking Insights

Technology’s influence on football is undeniable, particularly with the expanded use of GPS tracking. It plays a major role in painting a more comprehensive picture of individual players and overall team performance, leading to improved outcomes. And now it’s easier than ever for coaches to use. 

Dalton Knecht attended the NBA Combine after finishing his playing career for the Tennessee Volunteers of the NCAA Division I Southeastern Conference.
What's the One Thing 2024 NBA Draft Combine Leaders Have in Common?

The NBA Draft Combine underscores the pivotal role of data-driven performance metrics in preparing athletes for high-stakes competitions. But there’s a commonality among the players who performed best during the strength and agility drills this year.

Dimitris Itoudis, one of the winningest coaches in EuroLeague history and uses basketball analytics to aid his decision-making.
Dimitris Itoudis is Mastering EuroLeague Basketball with Data-Driven Coaching

Dimitris Itoudis is one of the winningest coaches in EuroLeague basketball history and renowned for his strategic prowess. But he also exemplifies the marriage between traditional coaching wisdom and modern data analytics.

American football analytics are helping players plan better offseason workouts.
How Analytics Can Help Improve Collegiate Football Workouts

The offseason is a crucial time for college football players to improve their skills, strength, and conditioning. But how do you put together a training program that is as efficient as it is effective? Here’s a surefire way to start.

a recent study looked at the effectiveness of plyometrics workouts for handball players.
Researchers Uncover the Power of Plyometric Workouts for Elite Handball Players

A group of researchers set out to assess the impact Plyometric training might have on improving vertical jumps (and other performance metrics) of handball players at the elite or national level. Here’s what they learned.

In addition to being the Head Strength and Conditioning coach for Heroes Den Bosch, Coach Rik van Waes is also a physiotherapist.
Data-Driven Approach Fuels Coach’s Return-to-Play Protocol!

Injury recovery is a critical aspect of sports, and it’s where data can make a significant impact. As Rik van Waes, the Head Strength and Conditioning for the Heroes Den Bosch professional basketball team, puts it, Returning to play after an injury is one of the major things that data can contribute to.”

REWE Final4 Breaks New Ground with Cutting-Edge Handball

Each year, thousands of handball fans converge at the REWE Final4, while millions tune in from home. Alongside the Handball Bundesliga, it doesn’t get much bigger than this. Except this year. 

A study found Olympic derived strength training is good for women's volleyball players trying to improve their jump height.
Study Reveals: Olympic-Based Strength Training Enhances Handball Skills!

Imagine the power and agility of an Olympic athlete combined with the strength and endurance of a handball player. That’s exactly what a recent study set out to explore. The goal? To unlock new levels of performance for women handball players. 

TSG Hoffenheim women's soccer team is working with KINEXON sports to help develop women-specific player metrics and cycle-syncing workouts.
What's Still Missing on The Journey to Equality for Women Athletes?

Researchers from the Bundesliga club, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, are conducting a study on the influence of the menstrual cycle on the performance of women athletes. Dr. Sascha Härtel and Dr. Ludwig Ruf shared insights into the research, and talked about what is still needed.