All aspects of a players skating ability revolve around their overall balance and body control. Often the focus for skating is simply on the player’s legs and knee bend only. This focus is flawed, considering much of our ability to be balanced relies on our upper body and arm movement we must first look to create a sound, efficient upper body to create balance—which will also translate into lower body efficiency. You can visualize the difference by thinking of running a sprint with your arms tied to your sides versus the natural, free-flowing, motion.
This philosophy of educating players on perfecting all elements on a player’s body/stride has been a catalyst for player development. Our bodies work in series for all elements of our lives. In terms of skating each joint, muscle and body system needs to cooperate to generate the efficiency hockey now requires in todays game.
Four key elements to a players skating ability are:
Stance—establishing a solid foundation to build upon is fundamental to developing a players overall skating ability. By establishing a solid stance we are able to form a base to build upon add add complimentary elements.
Body Control—as previously mentioned body control is a vital element in developing players skating abilities. By perfecting body positioning within stride and agility based techniques we are able to create a more balance and complete player
Power Output/Foot speed—once base and balance have been founded power output and foot speed can be improved upon. A solid base and sound body control provide a platform to ensure that power is being used in as efficient of a manner as possible—equating to more speed for the player.
Stride—efficiency is key for a players stride not only from an energy perspective but also from a speed perspective. By ensuring all elements of a players stride are in tact we are able to create a faster more agile player
These principals are not only for straightforward acceleration but apply directly to all elements of skating. Forwards, backwards, lateral, explosive starts, crossovers/unders, and transitions. Proper arm, shoulder, torso, head and even stick positioning allows us to progress quickly into advanced skating elements where we can then refine the lower body movement quickly with the upper body working in series with the lower body or engine that drives each player.