Investigating Vertical and Horizontal Force-Velocity Profiles in Club-Level Field Hockey Athletes: Do Mechanical Characteristics Transfer Between Orientation of Movement?

Abstract: To inform physical preparation strategies in field hockey athletes, this cross-sectional study investigated the transfer of mechanical characteristics in different force-vectors and determined the correlations between vertical and horizontal F-v profiles and performance outcomes (i.e., jump height, sprint time). Thirty-one club-level field hockey athletes (age: 23.1 ± 4.3yrs, body mass: 70.6 ± 10.3kg, height: 1.72 ± 0.09m) performed vertical F-v profiles by completing countermovement jumps at three incremental loads (bodymass[BM], BM+25% externally added mass relative to BM, BM+50% externally added mass relative to BM), and horizontal F-v profiles by performing maximal 30-meter sprint efforts. When comparing matched mechanical variables between F-v profiles in each force orientation, small to moderate significant correlations r = (0.37−0.62, p ≤ 0.03) were observed for relative theoretical maximal force (F0), power (PMAX) and theoretical maximal velocity (v0). The performance outcomes of both F-v profiles highlighted a large, significant negative correlation (r = -0.86, p = 0.001) between variables. Multiple linear regression analysis of F-v profiles identified F0 and v0 accounted for 74% and 94% of the variability in jump height and sprint time respectively; however, v0 appeared to be a greater predictor of both performance outcomes. Due to the significant relationships between variables, the results of this study suggest vertical and horizontal F-v profiling may explain the same key lower-limb mechanical characteristics, despite the orientation of the movement task. With club-level field hockey athletes, coaches could potentially use mechanical profiling methods interchangeably to prescribe physical preparation interventions, however for greater neuromuscular and mechanical insight, it is likely worthwhile to assess mechanical strengths and weaknesses in both force-vectors. 

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Hicks D, Drummond C, Williams K, and van den Tillaar R. Investigating Vertical and Horizontal Force-Velocity Profiles in Club-Level Field Hockey Athletes: Do Mechanical Characteristics Transfer Between Orientation of Movement? International Journal of Strength & Conditioning 3: 1-14, 2023.

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