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Innovative training method beneficial to youth hockey players, researchers find

| Judy Berthiaume

Research by University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students that demonstrates the positive effects of an innovative training method for young hockey players has been published in an international professional journal.

"The Effects of BungeeSkate Training on Measures of On-Ice Acceleration and Speed" was published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance.

"This is a newer journal in the area of sports physiology and performance, but already has gained a reputation as an excellent journal in the field," said Dr. Jeff Janot, an associate professor of kinesiology who oversaw the research project. "It's a big deal that we're able to develop a good enough undergraduate research study that was accepted into a journal like this one. This is the first time UW-Eau Claire students have published in this journal, but what makes it special is that it shows the level of work these undergraduate students were able to do."

Student researchers collaborated with the Eau Claire Youth Hockey Association and the City of Eau Claire, along with a Canada-based company that supplied the product for training.

The study was designed to determine if on-ice BungeeSkate training would improve on-ice speed and acceleration in youth hockey players, Janot said, noting that little research has been done regarding the value of on-ice resisted skating for hockey players.

The study found that after a four-week training period using BungeeSkate training, players' speed and top speed were significantly increased, while acceleration was slightly improved, Janot said.

"The training method could be a valid adjunct to existing strategies to improve skating skill development in hockey," Janot said, adding that the findings likely are of particular interest to hockey coaches and players who want to maximize training benefits with limited ice time.

Researchers already shared the findings with the local youth hockey organization and UW-Eau Claire's men's and women's hockey teams, Janot said.

Janot hopes to continue to work with youth hockey teams and include the Blugold hockey teams in future studies relating to the training tool, he said.

"Demonstrating the effectiveness of this tool at the collegiate level, especially for less studied groups in research such as female players, would be a good second step in our plan," Janot said. "Trying to plan a longer training program also would be a logical next step."

Student researchers — all of whom have recently graduated with degrees in kinesiology — were Kelly Auner, Antigo; Talisa Emberts, Sussex; Robert Kaatz, McFarland; Kaelyn Matteson, Farmington, Minn.; Emily Muller, Lancaster; and Mitchell Cook, La Crosse.

Having research published as an undergraduate student is an impressive accomplishment that often is noticed by graduate schools and prospective employers, Janot said.

"Getting your name on your first publication is pretty special for any student," Janot said. "The confidence level for each of them increased quite a bit. They used this as a showcase item in their applications to graduate school or for work, which was very effective considering all of them are employed or accepted into their graduate program of choice."