Balancing Act

Stride after stride, whether we’re conscious of it or not, we’re always making sure that our skates come back to the starting position under our body. Depending on the type of skater we are and the corresponding cadence, we should remember that, while actively skating we are only on 1 leg at a time. This means that, albeit temporarily, all our body weight is being carried on one leg…repeatedly going from left to right. What I am saying is not high science, but it’s important to note that regardless of whether we are carrying the puck or not, we are relying on balancing our whole body on 1/8th” of steel! So, let’s look into becoming as effective as we can on such a small surface area.

PROPULSION

Our acceleration from a static position can be improved by self-evaluating each step’s mechanics during take-off. It’s necessary to focus directly on the quality of the support leg’s blade contact with the ice (in front third of blade) and the skater’s forward lean.

In this video: The HockeyShot Speed Deke (3 x 16”) is used in low mode. The placement is subject to player’s regular stride range. While doing this drill, remember:

  • Release weight from the front third of the blade on your dynamic push (lift your toes in your skates) Example: Lifting foot from break pedal in a car!
  • To identify proper balance, you’ll need to use your legs to help you fully complete your weight shift and to generate power. 30% of your speed and power comes from using your arms efficiently.
  • The extension of your stride should be on your heel line if compared with your other skate. Too many players finish with their toes behind their heel line. You have to generate speed with your natural body weight while keeping a good balance which is tightly related to your stride.


Tip:Exaggerate each leap and “stick” your landing. As your balance improves, add a partner who will give you a slight shove at the moment you land your jumps. This will increase the degree of difficulty and challenge you to work on your optimal blade contact with the ice.