HEADS UP HOCKEY: TRAINING UPWARD GAZE WHILE STICK-HANDLING
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A pilot study assessing an off-ice, computer-based training intervention (Quickstickz, QS) at improving upward gaze and on-ice performance. Elite male hockey players (n=10, age 11-12) were recruited. Participants were randomly separated into two groups. Following baseline testing in on-ice drills, one group received QS intervention, training for 30 minutes per day, 4 days a week for 4 weeks. After a second on-ice test, the remaining participants received the training intervention, followed by a final on-ice test. Due to drop out (n=10) the two groups were combined for pre-intervention to post-intervention analysis using paired t-tests. Results demonstrated a significant reduction in time to complete drills (mean±sd: pre: 119s±10s; post 110s±11s; p=0.03). Non-significant results from pre- to post-test for mean gaze-up angle (pre: -10o±38o; post 1o±21o; p=0.45) and percent gaze-up (pre: 37%±27%; post 50%±25%: p=0.26). Power analysis indicated that significant results may be achieved with a sample size of 21-48 participants.