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Leonov, S.V., Kruchinina, A.P., Bugrii, G.S., Bulaeva, N.I., Polikanova, I.S. (2022). Basic characteristics of postural balance of professional hockey players and novices. National Psychological Journal [Natsional’nyy psikhologicheskiy zhurnal], 2 (46), 65–79. doi: 10.11621/npj.2022.0207

Abstract

Background. Stance (or posture) is the fundamental posture of a hockey player, allowing him to perform various movements during training and playing processes. However, studies of postural balance of hockey players are scarce. 

Objective. The main aim of the study was to track a hockey player’s posture as well as to compare static postural characteristics of professional hockey players and novices. 

Sample. The study involved 22 male subjects (mean age 20±2.3 years), including 13 hockey players and 9 subjects who were new to hockey (mainly freestyle wrestlers). The professional level was assessed by the number of years of experience and by the presence of sports ranks. The average experience was 14.18±3.8 years. The sports ranks ranged from third junior category to Candidate Master. 

Method. A method for tracking the posture of a hockey player using the DTrack2 and SteamVR Tracking 2.0 systems was tested. The obtained results made it possible to compare the static characteristics of the stance in professional hockey players and novices based on the analysis of changes in the knee and hip joint angles, as well as changes in the position of the head during performing the task of maintaining the stand for 5 minutes (Leonov, Polikanova, Kruchinina et al., 2021). 

Results. Analysis of movements with the DTrack2 system and the SteamVR Tracking 2.0 system showed identical results, allowing further use of the SteamVR Tracking 2.0 system. Analysis of the positional tracking data showed that professional hockey players were characterized by a greater amplitude of oscillation (1–2 degrees) than novices (no more than 1 degree) when maintaining their stance. Professional hockey players are also characterized by a significantly smaller amplitude of oscillation of the head position during performance of tasks. Qualitative analysis of changes in angles of knee and hip joints showed that professional hockey players, in contrast to beginners, have a higher and more stable amplitude of movement parameters fluctuations during the whole study, which in turn allows to optimize energy expenditure and provide better posture stabilization. 

Conclusions. Thus, the results of the study indicate the importance of correct head positioning in stabilizing the postural balance of a hockey player. For posture maintenance, the hip strategy of postural balance maintenance, associated with a greater amplitude of hip joint oscillation, is the most optimal. 

Funding. Research supported by the support of the Russian Science Foundation, project No 19-78-10134.


Received: 03/23/2022
Accepted: 05/16/2022
Pages: 65-79
DOI: 10.11621/npj.2022.0207

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Keywords: hockey, virtual reality, VR, posture, hockey stance, postural balance, motion analysis, positional tracking.

Available Online 22.06.2022

For citing this article:

Leonov, S.V., Kruchinina, A.P., Bugrii, G.S., Bulaeva, N.I., Polikanova, I.S. (2022). Basic characteristics of postural balance of professional hockey players and novices. National Psychological Journal [Natsional’nyy psikhologicheskiy zhurnal], 2 (46), 65–79. doi: 10.11621/npj.2022.0207