Hockey Technology

Hockey skills testing – U15 and U18 girls squads.

In 2012 girls from the U15 and U18 state squads volunteered to take part in a skills assessment exercise run by the Centre for Wireless Monitoring and Applications at Griffith University. Under Mel Tremayne (Project leader and undergraduate engineering student at Griffith University) and Sophie Nottle, Sharyn Simpson arranged for some girls in these squads to be tested using a small stick sensor (see Figure 1). 

hockey technology

Figure 1: Acceleration sensor on a hockey stick

The girls were asked to repeat a number of tasks – polishing the ball (modified Chapman ball control test), “juggling” (bouncing the ball on the stick), trap & pass (forehand and reverse stick) and pass-pass-flick (two hits across the body and pass both forehand and then reverse stick). The Chapman hockey skills test is a count of the number of times the player hits the ball in 15 seconds. The ball must travel approximately 24 cm. The time between hits was the measured electronically. The lower the time between hits, the more rapidly was the stick movement between hits and the better the ball control. The girls squads were tested at their regular training sessions twice - firstly early in the season and then later in the season after significant training. 

Figure 2 shows the overall results for the four test sessions. The lowest times were for the Control box (C-box) where no ball direction is prescribed. There was little difference between the groups and the time of the test. The trap flick forehand (T-F FH) is a common training drill and showed the next best times, but the reverse stick drills (T-F RS) are less natural and showed longer times. The pass-pass-flick (P-P-F-FH & P-P-F-RS) requires three ball hits (the times shown is the time between the first and last hit divided by 2) and more ball control. There is significant improvement between the first and second test sessions for most tests, with the U15 girls showing significantly reduced times.

See our publications page for papers relating to this work 

Figure 2: Hit between hits for the six drills used to test hocket skill level of the U15 and U18 girl’s squads (T1 is trial 1 and T2 is trial 2).

Combining the Modified Chapman ball control tests with previous measurements on the state men’s squad and a group of social and novice players shows that (Figure 3), despite some outlier points, the Chapman score (number of ball hits in 15 seconds) does correlate with hockey playing ability.

The simple measurement technique has proved successful in assessing ball control in all hockey players at all levels. The trials took less than 5 minutes per player and were conducted at the beginning of a regular training session. 

Thanks to Sharyn and all the girls who helped out, and last year Matt Wells and the State Men’s squad for their enthusiastic participation in these trials.

For further information or to arrange some further tests, feel free to contact David Thiel

July 2012

Figure 3: Chapman ball control results comparison for five groups of players. The horizontal lines indicate the mean values for each group.