Heart rate response and contextual variables in professional rink hockey competitions

Fortunati, Matteo and Soldini, Emiliano and Beretta Piccoli, Matteo and Lakicevic, Nemanja and Crisafulli, Oscar and Drid, Patrik and Gemelli, Tiziano and D'Antona, Giuseppe (2023) Heart rate response and contextual variables in professional rink hockey competitions. Medicina dello sport.

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BACKGROUND: Professional rink hockey is a highly demanding intermittent sport. This study investigates the heart rate response (HRR) during official rink hockey league matches and explores the influence of players’ and match-related contextual variables on HRR. METHODS: Polar Team app was used to monitor heart rate. The variables extrapolated were time spent at <60%, 60-70%, 70-80%, 80-90%, and >90% of the maximum heart rate (HRmax) and relative HRmax. Multilevel regression models were used to explore the associations between dependent variables, player-, and match-related characteristics. Fifty-six matches during two regular seasons of the major league in a competitive-elite Italian rink hockey team were monitored. RESULTS: Overall, players spent ~40% of the time in the light intensity zones (<70% of HRmax), ~15% in the aerobic zone (70-80% HRmax), ~24% within the anaerobic zone (80-90% HRmax), and ~17-20% into the maximum effort zone (>90% HRmax). HRR was mainly related to training experience and the importance of each player within the team. In fact, starter players spend much more time at intensities >80% HRmax than first and second change players (P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, starter players have a higher cardiovascular effort imposed by the match than first and second change players due to their primary role in the team. Therefore, we advise prescribing a weekly training plan based on the average HRR response for the players’ category obtained during the competition to optimize recovery and reduce cumulative fatigue over the season.

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