Dec. 13, 2013 —
Science Daily/Duke University
Professional hockey players who trained with special eyewear that only allowed them to see action intermittently showed significant improvement in practice drills, according to a Duke University study with the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes.
"From a sports perspective, you want to know if something is going to be an actual, viable training tool," said Stephen Mitroff, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and neuroscience in the Duke Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. "If players train with it, will they likely get the benefits? Our previous work showed that stroboscopic training affected vision and attention, and here we explored if those changes can benefit sports performance."
Players who trained with the strobe eyewear experienced an 18 percent performance improvement in a series of on-ice skill tests. A control group showed no change.
The athletes were randomly divided into a five-player control group that completed normal training and a six-player strobe group that wore the eyewear once daily during normal training. Each group completed a performance assessment before and after training. Forwards were asked to perform a task that involved difficult skating before taking shots on goal, and defensemen were asked to skate in a circle before completing long passes.
"That 18-percent improvement for on-ice skills for professional players is huge," Mitroff said. "This is a dramatic improvement observed in professional athletes."