Changes in technique throughout a 1500-m speed skating time-trial in junior elite athletes: Differences between sexes, performance levels and competitive seasons

Inge K Stoter*, Florentina J Hettinga, Egbert Otten, Chris Visscher, Marije T Elferink-Gemser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Speed skating is a technical endurance sport. Still, little is known about technical changes in junior speed skaters. Therefore, changes in technique throughout a 1500-m time-trial of elite junior speed skaters is investigated to explore differences between sexes, performance levels and competitive seasons. At (inter)national 1500-m competitions, knee and push-off angles were obtained for 120 elite junior speed skaters (56 female, 64 male, age 17.6±1.1 years) per lap at 250m (lap 1), 650m (lap 2), 1050m (lap 3) and 1450m (lap 4). Additionally, 1500m end-times and lap-times were obtained to divide skaters in faster and slower performance groups and to analyze pacing behavior. Fifteen skaters (8 female, 7 male, age 17.3±1.5 years) were measured again after 1.6±0.6 years. (Repeated measures) ANOVAs were used for statistical analyses (p<0.05). ICC, determined in a pilot study, was 0.55 for knee and 0.76 for push-off angles. Elite junior speed skaters increased their knee angles throughout the race (p<0.005), regardless of sex (p = 0.110) or performance level (p = 0.714). Push-off angles increased from lap 1-3 (p<0.001), in which men showed a larger decay than female skaters (p<0.05), this holds for both performance groups (p = 0.103). Faster skaters had smaller knee and push-off angles than slower skaters (p<0.05). Males showed smaller body angles than females (p<0.001). Faster male and female skaters showed a relative slower start and faster lap 3 compared to slower skaters (p<0.05). Development over competitive seasons showed a shift towards smaller push-off angles (p = 0.038) and less decay in knee angles from lap 2-3 (p = 0.026). The present study shows that technique throughout the 1500m deteriorates. Deterioration in technique is regardless of performance level, even with different pacing behaviors. Differences between sexes were found for push-off angles. The longitudinal development suggests changes in technique towards senior level and highlights the importance of studying juniors separate from seniors.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0237331
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume15
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21-Aug-2020

Keywords

  • SKATERS
  • POWER

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