This master’s thesis is investigative in nature and provides insight into the state of flexibility in young hockey players. Flexibility is crucial in hockey as its high degree enables movement to be more economic, eases strain, and decreases the possibility of injuries and chronic wear and tear. The thesis aims to establish the state of flexibility in different age categories using passive and active flexibility tests, and whether statistically relevant differences in flexibility according to individual test occur between age categories.
To begin with, we introduce ice hockey and its characteristics, define development stages, and describe the biological and motor development of children according to the age group covered in the thesis. We also define motor capabilities and describe hockey-specific flexibility in detail.
In the investigative part we focus on the core of our thesis, with which we aimed mainly to establish the state of flexibility in different age categories in the hockey club MK Bled. Our goal was also to check whether statistically relevant differences occur between individual tests. To evaluate the state of flexibility we used 13 different tests, which were divided into passive and active ones. 60 young hockey players from HK MK Bled took part in the research. They were divided into four age categories. All but three tests confirmed limited flexibility in every age category. Statistically relevant differences between individual tests in different age categories were present in four tests.
This thesis will aid hockey trainers who train younger age categories. It will provide them with recommendations on which part of the body to focus on in the training for increasing and retaining flexibility. The thesis will also contribute to the increase knowledge about the flexibility in hockey, in the Slovene language.