I have the worst body type for skating/hockey. Short, stocky, top heavy,very short legs with a short natural stride.
The usual recommended stride technique does not work for me. My strides end up choppy and dont generate much push for the effort.
I was experimenting recently, and discovered that if I get low, push off with one skate, but keep the other on, or barely touching the ice, I get more speed with less effort. It seems unconvential-like a waterbug-or being on an elliptical. Have you seen players that do this?
Should I keep practicing this, or work on a more convential stride?
When I was a little younger, a once asked a famous European Power Skating instructor, what was the key to fast speed/ He said..."That's easy. move your feet faster!" To this day, I teach all my player to do just that.
But the problem is that we see everyone else skating at a normal speed, so we feel that we have to skate the same way. One of the hardest things to teach a player is to keep moving his feet. Player, once they get up to speed start to coast. They think they are driving a car. get up to speed and let off the gas and save energy.
Saving energy while coasting is true. But while the other team blows by you, then you are going to use more energy trying to catch up. The other problem I have teaching players is that they have to give me 45 second of quick skating and then get off!
But again a lot of hockey player feel that if they get off the ice for just one second, the goal will be scored and then they will not be on the ice for the belly bump! So I tell them, the sooner you get your lazy behind (being nice here) off the ice, the quicker you can get on with fresh legs.
Long strides are over rated. The whole concept in hockey is speed. If you can skate fast by using short choppy stride (which I like by the way) then use quick short choppy strides.
Here are two drills for you to use to help with this. First one is a very easy one. It's called...push the net. Just push that net up and down the ice 4 or 5 time every practice and trust me, you will have some serious thighs.
Two, when you do your cross overs in a circle drill with all five circles, don't make a complete cross over, just bring the out side skate just in front of the other skate and repeat, it will look like you are practically running. But make sure you lean into the circle to compensate for the centrifugal force you will cause be increasing your speed.
Have you every seen a defenseman skating backwards on the toes? You will see that they are quick short choppy strides. That's how you want to do it in your crossovers.
So for me...the choppier strides the better. Like I said, I don't believe in long strides...they slow you down, and in the game of hockey feet speed is everything.
Hope this helps.
Rob Lopez - Commissioner
University Ice Hockey League - Mexico