Skating Fast is Crucial to Your Game.
There's nothing worse than getting beaten in a race for the puck, or having a back-checker catch you from behind on a break-away. I'm always looking for every ounce of speed I can get.
There's no better way to improve your skating than by taking a power skating course. The feedback from a professional skate instructor in invaluable. The hockey skills class I take spends one third of every session on skating drills alone.
Here's a few skating tips I picked up. I hope they help you as well.
- Good skating habits start with good posture.
- Posture helps balance, and balance creates power.
- Keep your head up.
- You should be looking at the top of the boards, not the ice directly in front of you.
- Bend at your knees and ankles, not at the waist.
- Your shoulder, knee, and the ball of your foot should all be lined up vertically.
- The fastest skaters take the fewest amount of strides over the same distance. Long, powerful strides are the answer.
- At the beginning of each stride, reach your foot out as far out in front of you as possible. As your foot passes along side of you, turn your toe out to the side. This gives you more blade surface on the ice to push against, and creates more power.
- Keep the entire blade of your skate on the ice for the complete length of your stride. At the end of the stride, stretch your working leg out behind you as far as you can, then snap your toe for that extra push.
- A lot of beginner skaters are in a rush to start the next stride, so they lift their foot off the ice too early. This short stride produces a choppy skating style. Bringing your leg back up quickly will only help you skate faster if you're getting the most out of every stride.
- When you bring your trailing leg back up after each stride, make sure it's positioned directly underneath you. This gives you the balance you need to put as much power as possible into the working leg.
The extra effort you put into improving your skating will pay off more than any other part of your game. Work at it, and you will improve.
So who's the Fastest Skater in the NHL?
Ovechkin? Kovalchuk? Maybe so, but who do you think one the 2008 NHL All-Stars Fastest Skater competion? Watch the video, you might be surprised...