Advances in Physical Education
2012. Vol.2, No.4, 169-171
Published Online November 2012 in SciRes ( DOI:10.4236/ape.2012.24029
Comparison of the Physical and Biomotor Characteristics, and
Reaction Time between Turkish Male and Female Ice
Hockey Players
Recep Gursoy1, Eser Aggon2, Robert Stephens3, Mehmet Akif Ziyagil4
1The Department of Physical Education and Sports, Atatürk University, Erzurum, Turkey
2The Department of Physical Education and Sports, Erzincan University, Erzincan, Turkey
3The Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University,
Columbus, USA
4The Department of Physical Education and Sports, Amasya University, Amasya, Turkey
Email:,, drrobe,
Received July 19th, 2012; revised August 25th, 2012; accepted September 5th, 2012
The purpose of this study was to measure and compare the physical and bio motor characteristics of male
and female Turkish ice hockey players. Structural and functional differences depending on the gender
were investigated. Altogether, 17 male and 20 female athletes from the city of Erzurum voluntarily par-
ticipated in the study. The physical measurements of each player were recorded and then isometric
strength, reaction time and flexibility were measured. Statistically, t-test analysis w as independently used
to compare the two groups. The results of the study showed the average weight and height of male ath-
letes were higher than those of females, despite the fact that was lower. The average isometric leg, back
and handgrip strength of male athletes were also significantly higher than those of females (p < 0.01). In
the sit and reach test, females were better than those males (p < 0.01), while average body flexibility
measurements of males are statistically higher than those of females (p < 0.05). There was no significant
difference between two groups in vertical jump measurements. The average anaerobic capacity of males
was significantly higher than those of females (p < 0.01). However, there was no significant difference in
the average hand reaction time between two groups. Regular measurement of physical and functional cha-
racteristics of athl etes is important not only in th e talent identification of athle tes but also in the understand-
ing the gender related structural and functional differences as well as in the regulation of training programs.
Keywords: Sports Performance; Ice Hockey; Physical Characteristics
Although female and male have played hockey for many
years, a paucity of research data exist regarding the differential
characteristics of male and female hockey players (Sapega &
Nicholas, 1982). Ice hockey is a sport that requires significant
metabolic, physiological, and biomechanical skill (Ransdell &
Murray, 2011). It is a highly variable, high-intensity sport that
requires speed, agility, muscular strength and endurance, and
aerobic and anaerobic fitness (Burr et al., 2008; Noonan, 2010).
Ice hockey has been depicted as a game played with hockey
sticks, skates and pucks (Sim & Chao, 1978; Mcfaull, 2001).
Skating in ice hockey is a complex motor skill (Green, 2003)
and it is uniquely stressful the high level of coordination re-
quired, the repeated demands made on the muscles with little
rest and the astounding requirement that it is played while ba-
lancing on skate blades are all factors leading to rapid fatigue
(Hansen & Reed, 1979). In addition, ice hockey presents com-
plex physical, physiological, and biomechanical challenges for
players (Bracko et al., 1998; Marino, 1979), many experts be-
lieve the most important skill in ice hockey is skating (Hansen
& Reed, 1979). Several researchers have concluded that the
40-yd sprint (Bracko & George, 2001), vertical jump (Mascaro,
et al., 1992), and standing long jump (Burr et al., 2008) are
valid and reliable predictors of on-ice test performance. To
examine whether off-ice tests could predict game play (vs.
on-ice skating performance), Green (2003) tested the relation-
ship between player game performance (total minutes played
and net scoring chances) and physical test results (V_ O2max,
blood lactate, and percent body fat). Understanding the physical
performance characteristics of male and female hockey players
can help identify weakness in conditioning, improve perform-
ance, establish baseline performance data and develop scien-
tifically based training protocols. The game-performance skat-
ing characteristic, physical and biomotor characteristics, reac-
tion time of ice hockey players are important for the team prac-
titioners and coaches, because there are implications for on- and
off-ice fitness training. Specifically, after Universiade Winter
Games 2011 in Erzurum/Turkey women’s and males participa-
tion in ice hockey and the other winter sports has grown about
% 400-fold during the past 2 years. Although several research-
ers studied physical and physiological profiles of ice hockey
players, to our knowledge, there is no study, which has specifi-
cally addressed the characteristics of Turkish ice hockey play-
ers’ physical and biomotor characteristics and, reaction time in
the literature. This study is the first to report descriptive data
from a sample of female ice hockey players from Turkey.
Copyright © 2012 SciRe s . 169
Therefore this study aims to measure and compare the physical
and biomotor characteristics, reaction time of male and female
Turkish ice hockey players aged 17 to 25 years.
37 healthy subjects comprising 17 male and 20 female ice
hockey players from Erzurum region have voluntarily parti-
cipated in this study. Height and body weight with short and
t-shirt out were measured in the morning before breakfast.
Height in centimeters and body weight in kilograms were re-
corded. Takei Kiki Kogyo Dynamometers were used to mea-
sure muscle strength between 1 and 100 kg. For warm up, par-
ticipants exercised 15 minutes prior to these measurements. A
handgrip dynamometer was used to measure the isometric elec-
tronic hand strength, and an electronic leg dynamometer was
used to measure the isometric leg and back strength. Reaction
time was assessed by a software package of random stimulus
presentation and response recording (Dane & Erzurumluoglu,
2003). A monitor was placed 50 cm from each participant’s
eyes. A central fixation point on the screen was presented after
a participant placed the chin in chin rest and aligned the eyes
with the fixation point. To measure reaction time with right and
left hands, a central flash as a visual stimulus was presented in
response to which the participant was asked to press a key (A)
on a keyboard. The participant’s finger tip was about 1 cm from
the key. Reaction times shorter than 150 msec. and longer than
500 msec. were removed from the analyses. Vertical jump was
measured using the protocol of Baumgartner and Jackson (198 7)
with the average of the highest two of three jumps being re-
corded, anaerobic power was assessed using Sargent Jump Test.
The hamstring and low back flexibility was determined by the
sit-and-reach test. The athlete placed both feet (without shoes)
flat against the Flex meter. The athlete reached as far forward
as possible in a controlled manner while keeping the knees
straight and palms facing down. The farthest distance reached
was recorded to the nearest centimeter.
T-test analysis independently determined differences between the
physical characteristics and motor activity of male and female
ice hockey players. The data testing are presented in Table 1.
There was no difference between male and female ice
hockey players in the mean age, training experience, left and
right hand reaction time. Though the males had higher vertical
jump scores than females, but difference was not significant
between two groups. Male players had significantly higher
mean height value than females (p < 0.05). The males had also
significantly higher mean values than females in the following
variables; body weight, isometric leg and back strength, right
and left handgrip strength, and anaerobic power (p < 0.01).
However, female players had significantly higher scores than
males in sit-and-reach test (p < 0.01). The male players were
the best in all tests except sit and reach test.
The best of our knowledge, this study is the first to describe
anthropometric and fitness performance characteristics of male
and female ice hockey players from the Turkey. This study
indicates that there were important structural and functional
Table 1.
Comparison of the physical and bio motor characteristics and, reaction
time of male and female ice hockey players.
Variable Male (N = 17) Female (N = 20)
Age (years) 18.71 ± 1.57 20.40 ± 1.99
Training experience (years) 1.82 ± 0.81 1.20 ± 0.56
Weight (kg) 66.76 ± 11.28** 53.40 ± 4.31
Height (cm) 173. 12 ± 7.4 4* 164. 60 ± 6.24
Isometric leg strength (kg ) 71.76 ± 35.20** 29.67 ± 19.29
Isometric back strength (kg) 70.71 ± 28.04** 25.40 ± 13.69
Right handgrip strength (kg) 43. 12 ± 6.60** 28.73 ± 4.74
Left handgr ip strength (kg) 43.47 ± 7.05 ** 26.33 ± 4.59
Sit-and-reach (cm) 8.41 ± 5.40 16.67 ± 5.30**
Vertical j ump (cm) 49.76 ± 8.3 7 41.73 ± 7.23
Anaerobic power (kg/m/s ) 104.25 ± 21.20** 75.97 ± 7.50
Left hand reaction time
(1/1000 s) 317.65 ± 39.99 314.80 ± 31.97
Right hand reaction time
(1/1000 s) 328.88 ± 32.66 325.47 ± 31.36
Values are means and ± is standard deviation of the means; *Significant differenc e
at p < 0.05 levels; **Significant difference at p < 0.01 levels.
differences between male and female ice hockey players. Males
were heavier, taller, and powerful than females. Females were
more flexible than males. Reaction time is accepted as an im-
portant measure of performance showing efficacy of speed,
sensation and decision making, detection in sports activities
(Kabakci, 2009). In this study there were no significant differ-
ences between male and female in the mean values of left hand,
right hand, reaction time and vertical jump scores. Ransdell &
Murray (2011) did a study about physical profile of elite
women ice hockey team from USA. In findings of them: 1) elite
female ice hockey athletes were heavier, yet leaner than previ-
ously studied female athletes; 2) vertical jump was within the
range previously reported for female collegiate Division I ath-
letes; 3) standing long jump was slightly below the value pre-
viously reported for female collegiate Division I athletes; and 4)
upper body and lower body strength (bench press and front
squat, kilograms, respectively) were higher than the values
previously reported for female collegiate Division I athletes.
Vescovi et al. (2006) examined the physical and physiological
characteristics of elite male ice hockey players with a mean age
of 18.0 ± 0.6 years according to their playing positions. They
concluded that there were significant differences in the view of
anthropometric measurements, upper body strength, and an-
aerobic power among positions for elite-level ice hockey play-
ers Bracko et al., (2001) found that 12 - 13 years old male ice
hockey players had higher mean values of body weight. Also
14 - 15 years old males were more powerful than females.
These results were parallel with findings of our study. But our
flexibility results were not consistent with findings his because
there was no difference in the flexibility of the players in study
of Bracko (2001). In the study of Bracko et al. (2001) all groups
had similar acceleration performance. Similarly, Bracko (2001)
Copyright © 2012 SciRe s .
Copyright © 2012 SciRe s . 171
found insignificant difference in the accelerating ability be-
tween elite and non-elite female ice hockey players. Bracko et
al., (1998) also found that non-age matched male high school
players were similar in acceleration, Bracko and Fellingham
(2001) reported that it appears that the accelerating ability did
not differentiated significantly for younger and older elite and
non-elite females, and young non-elite male hockey players.
But male ice hockey players were faster than the females on the
speed test. Dane and Erzurumluoglu (2003) reported that the
eye-hand reaction time was of longer duration for women than
men. But we didn’t find difference between male and female
ice hockey players training experience, left and right hand reac-
tion time in this study. According to Montegomerty (1998)
anaerobic fitness is an important performance variable for
hockey players, and information about on-ice fitness can be an
important criteria for a coach to understand a player’s ability.
Bar-Or (1987) suggests the accuracy of “field tests” maybe
questioned because of the skill level required to perform well.
Nevertheless, skating ability, and testing skating ability are
important aspects of hockey performance (Hansen & Reed,
1979). Bracko (2001) found that 10 - 11, 12 - 13, 14 - 15 years
male ice hockey players have higher anaerobic power than
female. Sport scientists are concerned with eliminating the skill
factor in exercise testing to produce objective results, whereas
coaches are interested in a player’s sport-specific fitness and
game-performance skating ability (Watson & Sargeant, 1986).
Future research is needed to examine the relationship between
training and fitness levels, to compare on-ice performance tests
with off-ice fitness test results, and to continue to examine po-
tential positional differences in fitness parameters in male and
female ice hockey players.
As a result, knowing the physical profile of male and female
ice hockey players can enable athletes, coaches, athletic trainers,
scouts, and strength and conditioning specialists to establish
athlete physical fitness expectations, design science-based train-
ing programs that will improve performance, and address any
weaknesses in physical fitness identified through testing. Also
the current findings can be used to identify physical charac-
teristics and biomotor abilities for male and female ice hockey
players (average for man 1.82 ± 0.81, for women 1.20 ± 0.56)
and regular measurement of physical and functional character-
istics of athletes is an important method used in comparing
athletes from two different teams as well as in evaluating the
efficiency of their training programs.
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