In part one we discussed the ever important of knee bend and rail-roading (or not returning your foot below your body). In this article we are going to discuss two more effective tips that can help you become a better skater.
1. STRIDE RECOVERY! There’s a lot of focus on stride mechanics and length of stride, but you hear very few people talk about the “stride recovery” or returning of the skate underneath the body (though I did talk about it in the last article). Once you’ve snapped your toe at the end of your stride, it should come right back underneath your body, and FAST! Many of players will have a hitch in their recovery where they like to as I call it, stride and then kick themselves in the ass. So instead of striding out and immediately returning below the body, they push that leg out and then up, making it look like they are trying to kick their backside. This motion or hitch takes easily a second out of the stride and causes the skater to have to wait an extra second to start their next stride with their gliding foot on the ice. What we want to see is the player push out and back from driving their toe in the ice. Doing the exercises provided in the last article will help work on eliminating that hitch. Make sure you are bringing that leg back fast underneath the body, so you can get the other leg going in its stride. Watch how Fedorov in the video below bring his recovery leg even further in front of his new striding leg. That's exceptional recovery!
2. WORK THOSE EDGES! Your blade essentially has 3 edges on it (I know, you’ve only heard of two of them). First you have the inside edges which face the inside of your body. Second you have your outside edges which face away from your body. Last you have what I call the flat or gliding edges which is both edges flat on the ice when, you guess it, you are gliding. As a player it’s important you learn how to master the use of all 3 of these edges. All 3 are pretty much used through the entire purpose of skating such as forward acceleration (inside edges), tight turns (outside edge on the lead foot and inside edge on the back foot), lateral cross overs and cross-unders (inside edges when stepping into a lateral movement and outside edges when pushing off the lateral movement), stops (both edges) and pivots (outside edges on pivot foot and inside edges on outside leg). The true speedsters of the game use all the edges and perfectly and the use of cross overs and lateral movement to gain speed is becoming a huge tool now more than ever. Watch in the video below how fast Connor McDavid is during practice with his foot speed and edge work. This is what makes him one of the best players in the world right now.
If you want to talk more about this article contact me on twitter @TDC_Hockey