Physical profiles of elite male field hockey and soccer players - application to sport-specific tests
Background. The physical demands of field hockey and soccer, based on match analysis, are comparable. As a consequence many exercise scientists and coaches have started to use the same type of field tests for hockey and soccer for the purposes of talent identification and training prescription. The validity of this practice is unknown and the data supporting the similarity of the physical attributes of soccer and hockey players are lacking. Objectives. To compare the physical attributes of elite South African hockey and soccer players. Methods. Elite hockey players (N=39: 22±3 years; mean ± standard deviation) and soccer players (N=37; 24±4 years) completed a set of physical tests including a 10 m and 40 m sprint test, a repeated sprint test (sprint fatigue resistance), a 1RM bench press and a push-up test. Results. There were no differences in the 10 m (1.8±0.1 s both groups) and 40 m (5.4±0.2 s v. 5.3±0.2 s; hockey v. soccer) sprint times and distance run in the repeated sprint test (754±14 m v. 734±51 m). The hockey players were stronger (82±16 v. 65±13 kg) and did more push-ups (49±12 v. 38±10 push-ups) than the soccer players. Conclusions. It is acceptable to use the same type of sport-specific tests to measure sprint capacity and sprint fatigue resistance for hockey and soccer players. However, it is questionable whether the normative data derived for upper body strength for soccer players are relevant for hockey players, and vice versa.
South African Journal of Sports Medicine Vol. 19 (3) 2007: pp. 74-78