Why is it easier to turn left?
In a field hockey match, various skating techniques are used to counter the opponent. A technique of choice for quickly changing direction while maintaining good speed is the sharp turn.
On the one hand, some players have a preference and an ease for making the sharp turn to one side. To improve this aspect of the game, we need to understand its various aspects. On the physical side, it has been noted that, during the turn, the leg on the outside produces more than twice as much force as the leg on the inside during the turn. To improve a deficient turn, it might therefore be worthwhile to focus on the athletic qualities of the opposite lower limb, on whose side the player is less suited to make turns.
On the other hand, in a study carried out on ice, it was observed that players generated more force on average when turning to the left than when turning to the right (Fortier et al., 2014). This trend seems to be reflected in the fact that a large proportion of players find it easier to turn left than right. In fact, NHL forwards move to the left 53% of the time when turning in match situations (Bracko, 2004). Although this difference can be attributed to a number of factors, such as the side of the player’s dominant leg and the side on which they hold their stick, everyone will remember turning left (counter-clockwise) thousands of times before the start of practice. Could this difference be mitigated by modifying this habit at the start of practice?
Written by Maxime Provencher, M. Physiotherapy
Bracko MR. (2004) Biomechanics powers ice hockey performance. Sports Med Biomech. 2004 Sept:47-53.
Fortier A, Turcotte RA, Pearsall DJ. (2013) Skating mechanics of change-of-direction maneuvers in ice hockey players. Sports Biomech. 13(4):341-50.
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