HFBoards

Go Back   HFBoards > General Hockey Discussion > The History of Hockey
Mobile Hockey's Future Become a Sponsor Site Rules Support Forum vBookie Page 2
Notices

The History of Hockey Relive great moments in hockey history and discuss how the game has changed over time.

Wayne Gretzky: MindFreak

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old
12-06-2011, 08:55 PM
  #1
Hawkey Town 18
Moderator
 
Hawkey Town 18's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 5,619
vCash: 500
Wayne Gretzky: MindFreak

I was reading the book "Of Ice And Men" and came across the mention of a study done on long-loop neuron reflexes (motor responses to sensory stimuli) done by Dr. William Tatton at the University of British Columbia. It noted that of all the people Dr. Tatton tested, Wayne Gretzky had the fastest long-loop reflex arc he had ever seen. This allows him to react to seeing an open teammate or an open corner in the net faster than anyone.

Dr. Tatton also identified that Gretzky had heightened peripheral vision, literally allowing him to see more of the ice than other players. The book said, "It's a hereditary trait, but through diligent practice during the appropriate window of opportunity in his brain's development, he refined the gift."


There is no mention of the details of the study, or to what degree Gretzky was faster than other NHL players, etc. A quick google search turned up nothing for me. Does anyone here have some more detail or context to go with the above? Seems like some interesting work, I would love to learn more about it.

Hawkey Town 18 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 12:52 AM
  #2
shazariahl
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,883
vCash: 500
This explains a lot.

shazariahl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 04:11 AM
  #3
habsjunkie2*
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 4,865
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by shazariahl View Post
This explains a lot.
It sure does.

habsjunkie2* is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 05:23 AM
  #4
Pear Juice
Registered User
 
Pear Juice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Gothenburg, SWE
Country: Sweden
Posts: 801
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkey Town 18 View Post
I was reading the book "Of Ice And Men" and came across the mention of a study done on long-loop neuron reflexes (motor responses to sensory stimuli) done by Dr. William Tatton at the University of British Columbia. It noted that of all the people Dr. Tatton tested, Wayne Gretzky had the fastest long-loop reflex arc he had ever seen. This allows him to react to seeing an open teammate or an open corner in the net faster than anyone.

Dr. Tatton also identified that Gretzky had heightened peripheral vision, literally allowing him to see more of the ice than other players. The book said, "It's a hereditary trait, but through diligent practice during the appropriate window of opportunity in his brain's development, he refined the gift."


There is no mention of the details of the study, or to what degree Gretzky was faster than other NHL players, etc. A quick google search turned up nothing for me. Does anyone here have some more detail or context to go with the above? Seems like some interesting work, I would love to learn more about it.
My instant reaction to this is that I A) want to read the original paper, B) believe that the hereditary effect is neglectible in comparison to the reflex skills he earned through practice, and C) believe that the difference in reflex response time, while being significant physiologically, is not significant when it comes to hockey games. We're likely talking milliseconds here and while hockey is a fast-paced game I don't think it's that fast-paced.

Pear Juice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 05:35 AM
  #5
brianscot
Registered User
 
brianscot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Halifax, NS
Posts: 1,408
vCash: 500
Yes, it's milliseconds, but combing that physiological advantage with Gretzky's ridiculous hockey imagination and hockey sense sounds reasonable.

Hockey isn't that fast, but decision making can be.

brianscot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 06:17 AM
  #6
Raym11
Phaneuf sucks
 
Raym11's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 5,431
vCash: 500
i think milliseconds can make a different, the faster you think to react, the training you do will allow you to react. If he sees an open seam and reacts to it faster, you get left with a lot of "how did that get through" moments. Which he had a lot of.


If he can make a play even milliseconds before you think hes going to make the play (or think of the play he's going to do), i'm guessing the speed of the puck, + that players own reaction timing probably being slower then Gretzkys because of how much he practiced/trained, you have a 200 point scoring machine.

When it all adds up, it just puts his mindset ahead of everyone he's playing against, He is literally ahead of the play. So much to say, you could say that the game played to him, he didnt play to the game.

Raym11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 06:26 AM
  #7
Hobnobs
Pinko
 
Hobnobs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Country: Sweden
Posts: 4,991
vCash: 500
Everyone who has ever played a fps game knows how valuable milliseconds can be.

Hobnobs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 08:39 AM
  #8
VanIslander
Don't waste my time
 
VanIslander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 23,924
vCash: 500
Gretzky was like the kid who already had the answers to the test beforehand: cool, collected and correct.

There is NOBODY in the game today like him. Hasek in net anticipated shooters similarly, but that's over a decade ago.

Science like hockey history ought to be in awe. Here's hoping he donates his brain to science.

VanIslander is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 08:41 AM
  #9
Pear Juice
Registered User
 
Pear Juice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Gothenburg, SWE
Country: Sweden
Posts: 801
vCash: 500
Gretzky had unsurpassed decision making and vision. I believe that 99% (pun intended) of those treats were due to hard work and an intelligent hockey mind, rather than having world-class sodium channels in his nerves. That's why I would like to see the original paper. Can they prove that the difference between the short-response and long-response individuals is biochemical, and not just the product of well-trained reflexes?

Pear Juice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 08:43 AM
  #10
Hobnobs
Pinko
 
Hobnobs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Country: Sweden
Posts: 4,991
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Der Kaiser View Post
Gretzky had unsurpassed decision making and vision. I believe that 99% (pun intended) of those treats were due to hard work and an intelligent hockey mind, rather than having world-class sodium channels in his nerves. That's why I would like to see the original paper. Can they prove that the difference between the short-response and long-response individuals is biochemical, and not just the product of well-trained reflexes?
It's probably both which I think was stated in the report.

Hobnobs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 08:45 AM
  #11
Pear Juice
Registered User
 
Pear Juice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Gothenburg, SWE
Country: Sweden
Posts: 801
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobnobs View Post
Everyone who has ever played a fps game knows how valuable milliseconds can be.
Yes. And they also know that difference between 40 and 50 milliseconds of lag is negligible. I have competed on top European level in fps games during the early 2000s and my experience is that the difference in the skill of the individual is miles more important than any small difference in response time.

Pear Juice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 08:46 AM
  #12
Pear Juice
Registered User
 
Pear Juice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Gothenburg, SWE
Country: Sweden
Posts: 801
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobnobs View Post
It's probably both which I think was stated in the report.
Maybe. My point is that one contribution is extremely much more important than the other. So much more important that I believe the other effect is negligible.

Pear Juice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 09:02 AM
  #13
Hobnobs
Pinko
 
Hobnobs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Country: Sweden
Posts: 4,991
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Der Kaiser View Post
Yes. And they also know that difference between 40 and 50 milliseconds of lag is negligible. I have competed on top European level in fps games during the early 2000s and my experience is that the difference in the skill of the individual is miles more important than any small difference in response time.
Difference in skil is ofc important but if two skilled players face eachother those 10ms will make a difference.

Hobnobs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 09:15 AM
  #14
Pear Juice
Registered User
 
Pear Juice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Gothenburg, SWE
Country: Sweden
Posts: 801
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobnobs View Post
Difference in skil is ofc important but if two skilled players face eachother those 10ms will make a difference.
Well this is all opinion, but my opinion is that if two skilled players face each others, their individual skill differences will still be the determining factor. There is no such thing as two equally skilled players.

Pear Juice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 09:45 AM
  #15
MadLuke
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,407
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobnobs View Post
Difference in skil is ofc important but if two skilled players face eachother those 10ms will make a difference.
So they still do not play on normal lcd with a 60 heartz refresh rate (frame change about every 16ms on the screen) ?

MadLuke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 09:51 AM
  #16
plusandminus
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 980
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Der Kaiser View Post
My instant reaction to this is that I A) want to read the original paper, B) believe that the hereditary effect is neglectible in comparison to the reflex skills he earned through practice, and C) believe that the difference in reflex response time, while being significant physiologically, is not significant when it comes to hockey games. We're likely talking milliseconds here and while hockey is a fast-paced game I don't think it's that fast-paced.
I'm just a layman. I know Gretzky was perhaps the best player ever, and perhaps the "most intelligent" hockey player ever. I also know he stood out from a young age.

If you would try to elaborate, why do you think/guess Gretzky stood out? What was special about him?
(You don't just mean he practiced more than others, do you?)
Was his "heightened peripheral vision" (also?) mainly a result of practice?

plusandminus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 10:08 AM
  #17
Pear Juice
Registered User
 
Pear Juice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Gothenburg, SWE
Country: Sweden
Posts: 801
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by plusandminus View Post
I'm just a layman. I know Gretzky was perhaps the best player ever, and perhaps the "most intelligent" hockey player ever. I also know he stood out from a young age.

If you would try to elaborate, why do you think/guess Gretzky stood out? What was special about him?
(You don't just mean he practiced more than others, do you?)
Was his "heightened peripheral vision" (also?) mainly a result of practice?
It is a combination of many things obviously. What I object to is to try to explain the performances of a great visionary mind by finding physiological explanations. Any proposed effect of him having extra quick nerve signals or a broader peripheral vision is a lot more probable to stem from him being a professional hockey player than from any biochemical difference in his neurons.

Compare to Albert Einstein. Sure, he has an estimated IQ of about 160. But that is not the reason he excelled at what he does. To totally reinvent an entire field of science it was not enough just to be smart and have a good sense of logic. The reason he accomplished what he did is that he had a visionary mind that managed to see things that others did not. I don't think such a trait can be explained by scientific methods.

I think something similar applies to Wayne Gretzky and that is what's so fascinating about him. He wasn't a physical monster or a lightning fast skater. He just saw the game at a higher level than anyone before or after. Sure he probaby had very good reflexes and vision, especially in comparison to average people (I don't think this difference is as great in comparison to other professional hockey players, which is obviously not the comparison made in this study.). But I don't think that was what set him apart from the rest of hockey history.

To me the study is a quirky fact, but it explains nothing, it just cements what we already knew.

Pear Juice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 10:28 AM
  #18
BraveCanadian
Registered User
 
BraveCanadian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Country: Canada
Posts: 11,055
vCash: 500
I'm almost positive I have read elsewhere (but unfortunately I can't remember where it was!) that Gretzky's actual field of peripheral vision was nothing outside the norm.

I believe what was unique about him was his ability to somehow inherently process that info while he was focused on other tasks.

Who knows..

BraveCanadian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 12:02 PM
  #19
Rexor
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Brno
Country: Czech_ Republic
Posts: 1,110
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
I'm almost positive I have read elsewhere (but unfortunately I can't remember where it was!) that Gretzky's actual field of peripheral vision was nothing outside the norm.

I believe what was unique about him was his ability to somehow inherently process that info while he was focused on other tasks.

Who knows..
Yes, I was just about to post this. From his wikipedia article (unfortunately the source is not available online):

"During his years with the Oilers, the team conducted individual strength and stamina tests twice per year. According to Gretzky himself, he always finished dead last in peripheral vision, flexibility and strength, and could only bench press 140 pounds (64 kg)."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_g...ces_and_skills

Rexor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 12:08 PM
  #20
redbull
2k17
 
redbull's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Country: Canada
Posts: 11,097
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Der Kaiser View Post
It is a combination of many things obviously. What I object to is to try to explain the performances of a great visionary mind by finding physiological explanations. Any proposed effect of him having extra quick nerve signals or a broader peripheral vision is a lot more probable to stem from him being a professional hockey player than from any biochemical difference in his neurons.

Compare to Albert Einstein. Sure, he has an estimated IQ of about 160. But that is not the reason he excelled at what he does. To totally reinvent an entire field of science it was not enough just to be smart and have a good sense of logic. The reason he accomplished what he did is that he had a visionary mind that managed to see things that others did not. I don't think such a trait can be explained by scientific methods.

I think something similar applies to Wayne Gretzky and that is what's so fascinating about him. He wasn't a physical monster or a lightning fast skater. He just saw the game at a higher level than anyone before or after. Sure he probaby had very good reflexes and vision, especially in comparison to average people (I don't think this difference is as great in comparison to other professional hockey players, which is obviously not the comparison made in this study.). But I don't think that was what set him apart from the rest of hockey history.

To me the study is a quirky fact, but it explains nothing, it just cements what we already knew.
I'd also like to see the study, sounds interesting, but without seeing it, I lean heavily to agree with you.

Gretzky excelled relative to all peers, even those many years older than him (when he was 15-19) and he was WAY smaller, weaker and when he was 35+ and had worn down, slowed down physically. The fact he was "washed up" with the NYR, still approaching 100pts is laughable in a way.

I don't attribute anything physiological to Gretzky at all. It's hockey instincts, his were more honed than anyone else's by a wide margin. Mario was closest. I don't know that anyone else comes close (not seeing Howe or Orr in his prime) but in terms of pure on-ice vision and hockey sense, knowing the way the play was going to unfold, that's NOT evaluated at the speed of milliseconds/nanoseconds.

Gretzky never did anything that looked purely spectacular, quite the opposite, he made it look so easy.

redbull is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 12:40 PM
  #21
overpass
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 3,821
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by plusandminus View Post
I'm just a layman. I know Gretzky was perhaps the best player ever, and perhaps the "most intelligent" hockey player ever. I also know he stood out from a young age.

If you would try to elaborate, why do you think/guess Gretzky stood out? What was special about him?
(You don't just mean he practiced more than others, do you?)
Was his "heightened peripheral vision" (also?) mainly a result of practice?
Gretzky probably did practice more than anyone else. From a very early age his father built a rink in their back yard and maintained it all winter, and little Wayne Gretzky spent every minute possible on that rink when he wasn't at school or sleeping. He'd play with others, or by himself if nobody else was there.

(The story of Wayne Gretzky's development is part of Canadian hockey lore. His father Walter has a reputation as the Ultimate Hockey Dad and is a celebrity in his own right in Canada, with speaking engagements, TV appearances, etc.)

Gretzky may not have been the only boy who practiced and played this much, but all those hours of hockey certainly helped him develop his knowledge of the game and his hockey sense. Possibly his neurons fired a little faster as a result of his childhood development.

The other thing about Gretzky is that nobody has been able to duplicate what he did by practicing all the time. But Gretzky has always said that he was never pushed to play or practice, it was always his choice, and nobody should be forced to play or practice to the point where they don't enjoy the game anymore. He just loved hockey that much as a boy. So you could say that part of the greatness of Wayne Gretzky was that he loved hockey more than anyone else, which allowed him to practice more than anyone else.

overpass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 02:08 PM
  #22
plusandminus
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 980
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Der Kaiser View Post
It is a combination of many things obviously. What I object to is to try to explain the performances of a great visionary mind by finding physiological explanations. Any proposed effect of him having extra quick nerve signals or a broader peripheral vision is a lot more probable to stem from him being a professional hockey player than from any biochemical difference in his neurons.

Compare to Albert Einstein. Sure, he has an estimated IQ of about 160. But that is not the reason he excelled at what he does. To totally reinvent an entire field of science it was not enough just to be smart and have a good sense of logic. The reason he accomplished what he did is that he had a visionary mind that managed to see things that others did not. I don't think such a trait can be explained by scientific methods.

I think something similar applies to Wayne Gretzky and that is what's so fascinating about him. He wasn't a physical monster or a lightning fast skater. He just saw the game at a higher level than anyone before or after. Sure he probaby had very good reflexes and vision, especially in comparison to average people (I don't think this difference is as great in comparison to other professional hockey players, which is obviously not the comparison made in this study.). But I don't think that was what set him apart from the rest of hockey history.

To me the study is a quirky fact, but it explains nothing, it just cements what we already knew.
Interesting subject. I too would like to know more about the studies of Dr. Tatton. It would be interesting to compare Gretzky to other hockey players (professional or not), other sports people (table tennis, racing, football, etc.), and perhaps even guys spending lots of time playing computer/video games.
I was initially assuming Gretzky was compared also to other hockey players, but maybe he was about the only hockey player studied.

We know about autistic people having abilities like normal people don't have (as in the movie "Rain man"). I was thinking Gretzky was differing from other people in some similar kind of way, for example having a brain constructed to benefit hockey playing (rather than, as some autistics, which Gretzky is not, have extraordinary abilites like memorizing pieces of music, text or pictures).


I wrote some time ago about how a person's mind is important. I wrote about physical ability, "(hockey) intelligence" and mind. You can be physically gifted, and very intelligent in regard to read the play, etc. But often it is the mind that decides which ones continue to elite level and which ones don't. During school (especially age 7-15), there were guys who was very good at football, having natural talent for reading the play and having the physical ability/skill to perform what they intended. But many of those guys didn't have the mindset to become successful at elite level, and finished their sports career or continued it at lower levels, while other less good guys structured their life in a way that made it possible for them - if not being too far behind the best ones - to perform at high level. I know quite a few World champions (or similar) in different sports, and they usually didn't stand out during young age.
I, and other people I know, have noticed that successful sportspeople tend to share some personality traits (if that's the right word). They obviously often very much desire to win, they often are very good at focusing, they are able to dedicate, structure and discipline themselves.
Sports people are often good employees or students. For example, I went to high school with a person who got to play for the national football team (senior), who had excellent marks (just one example out of quite a few). It seems as if some kind of structure, disciplin and dedication shows true at work and school too.

It is said about football player David Beckham (from England, famous for his free kicks) that he had some "complusive" desire to have things "perfect". After practices, he shoots free kick after free kick, often after the other guys have left the field.
Maybe there are other, better, examples.
It is probably hundreds of times that I've heard how successful sportspeople competes hard even when playing e.g. a game of cards. They "want to win!", and may not be nice to deal with if they lose.

But, I know of many cases where it doesn't seem to matter how much one practices. One guy may practice several hours a day on something. Then another guy, apparantly similar psysically, do the same things better at the first or second attempt.

Interesting info about Gretzky's dad. I saw him the other day, but didn't speak to him (as it was on TV I saw him.)

plusandminus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 03:10 PM
  #23
begbeee
Registered User
 
begbeee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Slovakia
Country: Slovakia
Posts: 4,126
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rexor View Post
Yes, I was just about to post this. From his wikipedia article (unfortunately the source is not available online):

"During his years with the Oilers, the team conducted individual strength and stamina tests twice per year. According to Gretzky himself, he always finished dead last in peripheral vision, flexibility and strength, and could only bench press 140 pounds (64 kg)."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_g...ces_and_skills
That's interesting. I read in Peter Stastny autobiography book, that before Canada Cup 1984 the whole canadian team had physical tests. He wrote only him and Gretzky were able to finish them all.

begbeee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 03:30 PM
  #24
BraveCanadian
Registered User
 
BraveCanadian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Country: Canada
Posts: 11,055
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by begbeee View Post
That's interesting. I read in Peter Stastny autobiography book, that before Canada Cup 1984 the whole canadian team had physical tests. He wrote only him and Gretzky were able to finish them all.
I'm not sure what the reason was that most of the players couldn't finish the tests, but one thing that Gretzky did have was outstanding endurance and recovery.

BraveCanadian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-07-2011, 05:19 PM
  #25
Rexor
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Brno
Country: Czech_ Republic
Posts: 1,110
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by begbeee View Post
That's interesting. I read in Peter Stastny autobiography book, that before Canada Cup 1984 the whole canadian team had physical tests. He wrote only him and Gretzky were able to finish them all.
Sure, that wiki article mentions this too:

"But Gretzky’s skill as an athlete was not all mental. Along with Gordie Howe, Gretzky shared 'an exceptional capacity to renew his energy resources quickly.' In 1980, an exercise physiologist tested all of the Edmonton Oilers, and when he saw the results of Gretzky’s test of recuperative abilities, he said 'he thought the machine had broken.' Wayne often had his best moments in the third period."

What boggles my mind though is his allegedly inferior peripheral vision.

Rexor is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Forum Jump


Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:05 AM.

monitoring_string = "e4251c93e2ba248d29da988d93bf5144"

vBulletin Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
HFBoards.com is a property of CraveOnline Media, LLC, an Evolve Media, LLC company. 2016 All Rights Reserved.