06 May Skating Stride Development Part 2: What do bad strides look like?
Knock kneed, skating on railroad tracks one gear, all show no go; all typical phrases you hear around the rink reference to a skating stride. Whether you are Scotty Bowman, or Volunteer coach Bob, it doesn’t matter how you word it, skating stride development issues can be broken down into 5 main areas:
Skating Stride Development Spectrum
1) Knee Bend (or lack of knee bend)
2) Lengthening (or short and choppy)
3) Lateral Direction (or straight behind)
4) Toe-snap (or kicking up and behind the body)
5) Efficient recovery (or lack of recovery momentum)
Knee Bend: A player with poor skating posture isn’t hard to spot. Just look for “Johnny straight legs”, you know the guy who pushes from the butt muscle and forgets that his knees can actually bend, loading the quadriceps with all kinds of useful power! Skating stride development should begin with proper stance and comfort in a deep knee bend position. This allows the hip to let the leg come out more laterally, maximizing the amount of tim
e a skate makes contact with the ice during a skating stride!
Lengthening: A skating stride, like a swimming stroke, must be as long as possible. A short choppy skating stride is no different then the doggy paddle! The skate needs to make contact (transffering potential energy from the quadriceps) for as long as possible!
Lateral Direction: Hand in hand with the length of a stride, a skate blade will make contact with the ice a lot longer if the leg is pushed out laterally, instead of straight back. This isn’t saying that straight to the side is always optimal, the optimal skating stride hip angle is as unique to a skater as their own finger prints. A skating stride is more of a zig-zag pattern then a pair of straight linear lines.
Optimal skating stride hip angle is as unique to a skater as their own finger prints!
Toe-snap: The most underrated skating stride component is the toe-snap. Like all “critical instant” components of sport skills, it is often overrated, because it is the hardest (and most painful to work on). Most of the force produced by the quads is lost without finishing a skating stride with a toe-snap!
Efficient Recovery: This goes hand-in-hand with the toe snap phase of a skating stride! Snapping the toe cause a momentum force aimed back toward the mid-line of the body. This cause the leg to whip back under the body q lot quicker, getting set for the next skating stride!