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Getting Prepared for a New Season

September 20, 2011 General No Comments

Getting prepared for a new season
By Robby Glantz
Oct 31, 2001, 15:59

 

In order to skate better in the season ahead you must prepare yourself technically, physically and mentally. And the preparation must be all-inclusive: if you are lax in any one of these three areas then you will be hard-pressed to reach your full potential as a skater.

If you read this column regularly, then you are aware that we consistently discuss and stress the importance of the technical aspects of becoming a better skater. However, understanding the techniques required is only one-third of the battle. You must also have the physical ability and mental toughness to apply those oft-discussed techniques. That means being dedicated and in shape.

This month, I want to focus on the best ways to prepare yourself for the new season by looking at each of the elements mentioned above.

 

Techniques

Forward Skating: Concentrate on bending the knees deeply, so that they are about two inches out over the toe of the skate. Place 100% of your body weight over the inside edge, rolled halfway to the ice, of your pushing foot. Then drive directly out against it until it snaps to full extension, finishing at the toe of the skate, with the knee and the toe turned outward. Finally, return that foot all the way under the body and repeat these steps with the other foot.

Backward Skating: Having the proper body posture is imperative. You must stay extremely low, sitting back into your skates while keeping your back straight. Then drive up and out against the edge, cutting the letter “C” into the ice with the pushing foot. The other foot remains directly under the body and glides in a straight line.

 

Physical Preparation

Off-ice: The best way to prepare yourself off the ice is to really concentrate on strengthening the lower body, and that means from the abdomen down. Wall sits, squat thrusts and one-leg hops are all excellent exercises. For the wall sit, stand with your back to a wall, then gradually lower yourself to a sitting position, and stand back up.

To do a squat thrust, bend the knees out over your toes, then springing upward and land with the knees bent the same way and your back straight. The one-leg hop is the same as a squat thrust, but performed on one leg. These off-ice exercises will help effectively strengthen your legs.

On-ice: Knowing you should bend your knees deeply or get a better grip with your edges is one thing. Physically executing these techniques in training is quite another. For better knee-bend, make an exaggerated effort to break out of your skating “comfort zone.” How can you tell if you’ve “broken out?” Well, if your legs aren’t burning when you get off the ice, then you haven’t. And you’re still not bending your knees enough.

In looking to strengthen your edges, try loosening the top few laces on your skates. This should allow you to roll your ankles more, which, in turn, will give you a stronger grip in the ice from which to push off.

 

Mental Preparation

Of the three elements we’re discussing, mental preparation is generally the most neglected. But it may, in fact, be the most important. We continually stress at our schools that “Power Skating starts in your head.” You think first, and then you move your legs. We, as teachers, can not bend your legs for you, or force you to get all your body weight into each push. It is up to you—individually—to accomplish these things. And you have to want to do them.

A good starting point is to accept the fact that skating up to your full potential or expectations does not, can not and will not happen overnight. It takes years of repetition and dedication to accomplish these goals. So don’t get frustrated!

Once you have mentally dedicated yourself to taking the steps necessary to go faster, you will be able to trash the comfort zone we discussed earlier. After that, you can work on (and burn!) those newly-found muscles until the “right way” to skate and train actually becomes your comfort zone, and—more important than that—your speed increases.

 

Robby Glantz is an internationally certified Laura Stamm instructor. He is a power skating coach for the Los Angeles Kings, European champion Malmö, Sweden and the German National Teams. He conducts Power Skating schools for all levels throughout the U.S.

This first appeared in the 10/1994 issue of Hockey Player Magazine®
© Copyright 1991-2001 Hockey Player® and Hockey Player Magazine®

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