The fast-paced action of the FIH Pro League is happening right now. The International Hockey Federation (FIH) round-robin tournament of nine teams began in January and continues through June. The league serves as a qualifier for the Hockey World Cup and the Olympic Games.
The sport requires heavy exercise and the athletes to be fit. Here are a few things that coaches need to know about the physical demands of high-level competition.
- The energy expenditure of playing field hockey has been estimated to range from 9-12 calories per minute and the maximal aerobic fitness or VO2max level of female players is between 45 to 59 ml/kg/min.
- Defenders typically play 5-6 min more than midfielders, whereas midfielders play about 6-12 min more than forwards.
- The total distance covered during a match can range from 3720-10,200 yards with an average of 7200 yards.
- The activity profile during a match (% of the total match) is as follows: 56% low-intensity exercise (standing: 6%; walking: 50%) Moderate-intensity 38% (jogging: 26%; running: 12%) and High-intensity (fast running: 5%; sprinting: 1.5%).
- Although the sport requires aerobic fitness, the short-burst, high-intensity movements that require anaerobic power output are the key discriminating factor between elite and sub-elite level players.
- Moderate and high-intensity distances cumulatively range from 2300 to 2800 yards (26-28% total distance) with about 43–58 efforts of high-intensity running covering 400–625 yards.
- Midfielders perform a greater number and cover more distance in high-velocity and high-acceleration efforts compared to forwards and defenders.
How do we know all of this? GPS technology. To learn more about how coaches use GPS technology in sport click here.
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Macutkiewicz D, Sunderland C. The use of GPS to evaluate activity profiles of elite women hockey players during match-play. J Sports Sci 2011 Jun;29(9):967-73.
Reilly T, Borrie A. Physiology applied to field hockey. Sports Med. 1992 Jul;14(1):10-26
Vescovi JD, Frayne DH. Motion characteristics of division I college field hockey: Female Athletes in Motion (FAiM) study. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 2015 May;10(4):476-81.