Sports Foods & Ergogenic Aids for Performance Enhancement in Field Hockey
As with most team sport athletes, field hockey players are interested in performance gains from supplementation (Mujika and Burke, 2010). It has been reported that elite Australian athletes associated with a state-based sporting institute routinely utilise nutritional supplements, with 87.5% of athletes using supplements, with the frequency of supplementation not different between genders (Dascombe et al., 2010). A much lower amount, 37% of male Olympic hockey athletes reported taking supplements (Grandjean and Rudd, 1994). Females use them to help improve energy and maintain health, whereas males want to improve performance, energy and immunity. Overall, the most frequently reported supplements used amongst the athletes were vitamins, minerals, iron and 'other' supplements (Dascombe et al., 2010).
There are circumstances where the use of sports foods may help hockey athletes to achieve nutritional goals for training and competition (Mujika and Burke, 2010). In a study looking at liquid carbohydrate feedings during heavy hockey training, Kreider et al. (1995) showed 82% increases in carbohydrate availability, reducing the perception of fatigue following exercise and increasing time to maximal exhaustion.
There is a large body of evidence supporting the beneficial effects of creatine loading on the performance of repeated high-intensity bouts of exercise with a short recovery interval (Burke, 2007), which typically describes the movement patterns of hockey. There are two papers looking at creatine supplementation in athletes groups, including hockey players. Redondo et al. (1996) studied mostly sub-elite hockey players during the off season and found that creatine supplementation did not appear to enhance sprint performance for three 60-m dashes, with two minutes rest. Creatine supplementation did not increase body weight in the subjects, possibly suggesting they were non-responders, and admitting the possibility of benefit with a greater number of sprint repetitions. Zeigenfuss (2002) using male and female athletes, with only two female field hockey players, found that Cr supplementation improved peak power during repeated sprints and total work during the first sprint.
Data suggest that soccer is physiologically very similar to hockey (Reilly and Borrie, 1992), and the research on creatine in soccer also shows mixed results, with some papers seeing small improvements in repeated sprint times (Cox et al., 2002; Mujika et al., 2000), and limited decline in jumping ability (Mujika et al., 2000). Whereas others found that creatine had no performance-enhancing effect or ability to offset fatigue, also indicating chances of harm were greater than chances of benefit (Williams et al., 2014). Despite this conflict Bishop (2010) believes that there is a general trend for an ergogenic effect from creatine when recovery between sprints is 50 to 120 seconds. It could be likely that creatine supplementation would improve some aspects of hockey play, given the average rest duration between hockey sprints was found to be 113 ± 51s (Lythe and Kilding, 2011).
Practical Guidelines for Creatine
There are mixed results of positive benefits in hockey, so use with caution under coach or staff supervision
Creatine loading procedure; (Powers et al., 2003)
- Loading phase of 25g/day for 1 week, then maintenance phase of 5g/day for 3 weeks, or
- To avoid side effects, a slow loading phase of 3g/d for 28 days could be implemented
- Co-ingestion with 75-100g carbohydrate will enhance muscle accumulation (Green et al., 1996)
There are two studies looking at caffeine and hockey performance both showing positive improvements (Duncan et al., 2012; Del Coso et al., 2015). There are other studies including hockey players in the cohort of team-sport participants also showing positive results (Schneiker et al., 2006), negative effects (Paton et al., 2001) and indifferent results (Galaister et al., 2008). Duncan et al. (2012) showed that after fatigue inducing exercise where skill hockey performance deteriorates, 5mg/kg BM of caffeine may offset this decrement associated with high-intensity fatigue. More recently Del Coso et al. (2015) showed that the pre-game ingestion of a caffeinated energy drink using only 3 mg/kg of caffeine significantly enhanced high-intensity and sprint actions of elite field hockey players, without affecting total running distance or mean heart rate.
Looking at other mixed-sport cohorts including hockey athletes, Schneiker et al. (2006) revealed that acute caffeine ingestion (6mg/kg BM) can significantly enhance the performance of prolonged, intermittent-sprint ability in male, team-sport athletes, which was not compromised by fatigue development. Paton et al. (2001) used a protocol of 10x20m sprints, with a 10 second rest period, while Glaister et al. (2008) trialled 12x30m sprints with a 35 second rest period. Both studies used sub-elite 'competitive' athletes, and showed that caffeine improved sprint performance in the initial stages of the sprint test, but the benefits were offset by an overall increase in fatigue in the latter stages. The trend for greater fatigue in the highest responders is suggested to be caused by quicker times in early sprint, not due to caffeine itself (Glaister et al., 2008). When recovery periods are longer e.g. 2-mins, the benefits of caffeine on multiple sprint performance appear to be extended well beyond the first few sprints (Schneiker et al., 2006).
There appears to be some good evidence for the use of caffeine in field hockey, however some practical considerations are the potential fatigue creation when taking caffeine, and the possible increase in sleeplessness (Del Coso et al., 2015). Caffeine uptake can vary greatly among individuals depending on habituation, so trialling of the appropriate dose is recommended (Bishop, 2010).
Practical Guidelines for Caffeine
There is some good evidence for the use of caffeine in field hockey:
- Acute amounts of 3 – 6 mg/kg BM consumed approximately one hour prior to the start of exercise.
- Doses should be individualised according to regular daily caffeine intake and tolerance.
- Be aware of effects on insomnia, particularly for use at evening games or training.
Colostrum supplementation studies have produced conflicting results in regards to beneficial effects for performance, recovery, and illness in athletes (Shing et al., 2009; Bishop, 2010). Hofman et al. (2002) concluded that elite male and female field hockey players who supplemented with colostrum over eight weeks improved sprint performance. There was also a strong trend towards an increase in vertical jump, with no change in endurance performance results. Another study of young adult hockey players undergoing a 6-week dietary intervention showed a higher increase in plasma interferon-g levels in the colostrum group, without statistical significance, concluding that immune status may be enhanced in hockey players during a normal training period (Appukutty et al. 2009).
Practical Guidelines for Colostrum
There is not convincing evidence of a benefit in hockey when using colostrum, however, 20 – 60 g daily for 6-8 weeks may have some beneficial effects on immunity and sprint performance in hockey players. More research is required in this area.
Limited research suggests that sodium bicarbonate intake is likely to improve repeated- and intermittent sprint performance, and B-alanine is less likely to be performance enhancing for team-sport athletes (Bishop 2010), however there is no data on hockey athletes.
- Appukutty, M., Radhakrishnan, A., Thiagarajah, K., Ramasamy, K., Abdul, M. A. B., Chinna, K., ... & Mohd, N. I. (2009, January). Effect of bovine colostrum supplementation on the modulation of interferon gamma in hockey players during training period. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 55, 708-708.
- Bishop, D. (2010). Dietary supplements and team-sport performance. Sports Medicine, Dec, 40 (12), 995-1017.
- Burke, L. (2007). Practical sports nutrition. Human Kinetics.
- Cox, G., Mujika, I., Tumilty, D., and Burke, L. (2002) Acute creatine supplementation and performance during a field test simulating match play in elite female soccer players. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 12 (1), 33-46.
- Dascombe, B.J., Karunaratna, M., Cartoon, J., Fergie, B., & Goodman, C. (2010). Nutritional supplementation habits and perceptions of elite athletes within a state-based sporting institute. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 13, 274–280.
- Del Coso, J., Portillo, J., Salinero, J.J, Lara, B., Abian-Vicen, J., and Areces, F. (2015) Caffeinated energy drinks improve high speed running in elite field hockey players. IJSNEM, Aug 3, Epub ahead of print.
- Duncan, M.J., Taylor, S., and Lyons, M. (2012). The effect of caffeine ingestion on field hockey skill performance following physical fatigue. Research in Sports Medicine, Jan, 20(1), 25-36. doi: 10.1080/15438627.2012.634686.
- Glaister, M., Howatson, G., Abraham, C.S., Lockey, R.A., Goodwin, J.E., Foley, P., and McInnes, G. (2008). Caffeine supplementation and multiple sprint running performance. Medicine Science Sports Exercise, Oct, 40 (10), 1835-40.
- Green, A.L., Hultman, E., Macdonald, I.A., Sewell, D.A., & Greenhaff, P.L. (1996). Carbohydrate ingestion augments skeletal muscle creatine accumulation during creatine supplementation in humans. The American Journal of Physiology, 271 (5 Pt 1), E821–E826.
- Hofman, Z., Smeets, R., Verlaan, G., Lugt, R.V., and Verstappen, P.A. (2002). The effect of bovine colostrum supplementation on exercise performance in elite field hockey players. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metabolism, Dec, 12(4), 461-9.
- Kreider, R.B., Hill, D., Horton, G., Downes, M., Smith, S., and Anders, B. (1995). Effects of carbohydrate supplementation during intense training on dietary patterns, psychological status, and performance. International Journal of Sports Nutrition, Jun, 5(2), 125-35.
- Lythe, J., and Kilding, A. E. (2011). Physical demands and physiological responses during elite field hockey. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 32(7), 523-528.
- Mujika, I., and Burke, L.M. (2010). Nutrition in team sports. Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism, 57(Suppl. 2), 26–35.
- Mujika, I., Padilla, S., Ibanez, J., Izquierdo, M., and Gorostiaga, E. (2000) Creatine supplementation and sprint performance in soccer players. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Feb, 32 (2), 518-25.
- Paton, C.D., Hopkins, W.G., and Vollebregt, L. (2001). Little effect of caffeine ingestion on repeated sprints in team-sport athletes. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 33, 822–825.
- Powers, M.E., Arnold, B.L., Weltman, A.L., Perrin, D.H., Mistry, D., Kahler, D.M., and Volek, J. (2003). Creatine supplementation increases total body water without altering fluid distribution. Journal of Athletic Training, 38(1), 44–50.
- Redondo, D., Dowling, E.A., Graham, B.L. Almada, A.L., and Williams, M.H. (1996) The effect of oral creatine monohydrate supplementation on running velocity. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 6 (3), 213–221.
- Reilly, T. and Borrie, A. (1992) Physiology Applied to Field Hockey. Sports Medicine, 14 (1), 10-26.
- Schneiker, K.T., Bishop, D., Dawson, B., and Hackett, L.P. (2006). Effects of caffeine on prolonged intermittent-sprint ability in team-sport athletes. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Mar, 38(3), 578-85.
- Shing, C.M., Hunter, D.C., and Stevenson, L.M. (2009) Bovine colostrum supplementation and exercise performance: potential mechanisms. Sports Medicine, 39 (12), 1033-54.
- Williams, J., Abt, G., Kilding, A.E. (2014) Effects of creatine monohydrate supplementation on simulated soccer performance. International Journal of Sports Physiology Performance, May, 9(3), 503-10.
- Zeigenfuss, T.N., Rogers, M., Lowery, L., Mullins, N., Mendel, R., Antonia, J., and Lemon, P. (2002) Effect of creatine loading on anaerobic performance and skeletal muscle volume in NCAA Division I athletes. Nutrition, 18, 397-402.
- Nutrition for Field Hockey
- Supplements for Athletes
- Physiology of Field Hockey
- Fitness Components for Field Hockey
- More about anthropometry for hockey
- Another poll about the fitness components for field hockey
- Sport-Specific Nutrition - sports nutrition for a range of sports
- Sports Nutrition
- About the sport of Field Hockey