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Summer Training Tips

August 31, 2011 General No Comments

Summer training tips
By Robby Glantz
Oct 30, 2001, 11:16


Summer training is a vital element in improving on-ice performance. I’m a firm believer in the benefits of dry land activities, such as plyometrics, sprints, slideboards, bungee cords and inline skating. When combined, these elements will allow you to immediately strengthen the most important elements for being a better skater, your lower body and legs.

Of these off-ice elements, inline skating is not only the best method for cross-training for ice hockey but it’s now, of course, a sport unto its own. With that in mind, we will concentrate this article on techniques and drills to improve your Forward Stride while on inline skates; drills that, if applied and practiced, will give you a great start towards reaching your potential and becoming the best inline skater and hockey player you can be.

The Forward Stride

Techniques. The great thing about inline skating is that the techniques used to skate properly are virtually the same as they are on the ice. Below is a checklist of techniques that you should embrace when skating on inline or ice skates in order to improve your skating posture, balance and speed:

 First of all, skating is one foot at a time with 100% of your body weight centered directly over the pushing foot (one foot pushes while the other glides).

 To get into the proper posture, lower your body so that your knees bend to a 90° angle, which means that the knee is about two inches out over the toe of the skate.

 Keep your back straight (with the chest “equal” to the front knee) and turn the knees outward (bowlegged) to form the tip of an arrow (like a “V”) with your skates (heels together). Turning the knees outward will immediately get your skates into the right position to push directly against the inside edge.

 Roll the ankle of the pushing foot inward to an inside edge about halfway to the ground/ice (45°) this creates the strong grip from which to push. Thrust against that inside edge to the side, using 100% of your body weight until the leg reaches full extension and then snap the toe part of the skate (the last wheel of the inline skate) down-and-out to get the last burst of speed. Rapidly return the pushing leg to the center (“Arrow Tip” position), keeping the skate very low to the ground/ice and go again.

Drills. One of the best drills for the Forward Stride is called “Scrape the Toe and Slam the Heels,” and is a drill that should be constantly performed both on inline and ice skates. To execute the drill follow the techniques outlined above, being sure to slow the tempo while exaggerating each maneuver.

The drill requires that you drag the inside part of the front two wheels of the inline skate, or toe part of the ice skate, with the foot facing outward (scraping the ice, for example) as it is returning under your body from its full extension point. Then hit the heels together under your body (while on one foot) forming the “Arrow Tip” position, and go again. Remember to keep your hips facing directly in the line you are traveling by making your pushes more to the side and not to the back.

This exercise will allow you to feel your mistakes more clearly. For example, if you are unable to bring your heels together while on one foot then you will know that you are having trouble centering all of your weight over every push. And, if you are turning your knee downward rather than outward when attempting to drag the toe, that tells you you’re having a problem finishing the push in the proper manner—and therefore are losing valuable speed and power on each subsequent stride.

Finally, mastering all of the techniques of the Forward Stride takes much time and practice. Do not get discouraged if it doesn’t become perfect overnight.

The most important tip for you to remember is to keep bending the knees lower than what feels comfortable, and to put all of your energy into every single push. That alone will get you going faster and give you more confidence, no matter what kind of skates you’re on. l


Robby Glantz, power skating coach for the Los Angeles Kings, Swedish champions Malmö, and the German National Teams, conducts skating programs throughout North America and Europe.

This first appeared in the 08/1995 issue of Hockey Player Magazine®
© Copyright 1991-2001 Hockey Player® and Hockey Player Magazine®

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