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Steve Duchesne’s Skating Secrets

September 27, 2011 General No Comments

Steve Duchesne’s skating secrets
By Robby Glantz
Oct 31, 2001, 16:39


I have had the honor and pleasure of coaching Power Skating to some great players, including all-star defensemen Steve Duchesne and Rob Blake, and one-time all-world forward Mats Naslund, as well as other top-level professionals. And I discovered that all these great players have a few common traits.

First is their understanding that there is always more to learn. And, second, they know the importance of working on all aspects of their game in order to continue to im-prove.

I also had the opportunity to spend some time with these players off the ice, discussing their theories and thoughts about skating techniques and fundamentals. Following are some excerpts from a conversation with Steve Duchesne. I believe that the ideas and hints he brings up will really benefit you with your approach to, and understanding of, skating fundamentals—and perhaps more importantly, show you that no matter what your level of play—from novice to all-star—there is always room for improvement!

Duchesne on skating

What techniques have helped you the most?

The skating techniques I have learned have been invaluable, and I just wish I had someone teaching me these fundamentals when I was a youth player because I (recently) really learned the importance of skating fundamentals. What I really have to remind myself, and it’s something that we talk about in our training, is that speed does not just come from moving your legs super fast, but rather from moving them properly—like fully extending the leg before you return it, and using your edges to push from so you don’t run on the flats of your skates. 

What have you done to work on your weaker side, and do NHL players even have a weaker side of the body?

Everybody has one side that is stronger than the other. And what I’ve done is simply work harder on that side, like doing more drills on it and concentrating on that side more in practice. What is really important is that you should never be afraid to fall down; don’t let people laugh at you if you fall, because the only way to learn and get better is to exaggerate the movements.

As a defenseman, what do you feel your skating strengths are, and what have you done to work on these skills?

In short distances and one-on-one I feel very confident in my abilities, and I am very tough to beat. The stop-and-go, forward-to-backward movement and quick turns are all important for my position, and I train these skills by working on turning and stopping both directions in practice. Good balance is important for all players. Staying low, using your legs and keeping all your weight over an edge will help the balance, especially when checking.

Too many players try to check with the upper body (only using the shoulders), but a good, solid hit comes from the lower body—the strength in the legs—and also a strong abdomen and lower back.

What other tips do you have for aspiring defenseman?

Try to keep one hand on the stick as much as possible. I like to use my stick a lot in tight situations to take the puck from the forward or intercept a pass. But freeing one hand from the stick, I find, really helps my balance and my speed because I can extend both my legs and arms when I am skating.

Also, like most other defenseman, I like to use the crossover a lot when going backwards. But crossing over too much can get you burned, because a smart forward will watch your feet, and when you crossover one way he goes the other direction and it can be very hard to untangle your feet. So when the forward is near, it is better to go straight backwards and let him make the first move.

What do you do to prepare yourself for the season?

In the off season, I like to ride the bicycle, work on the treadmill and inline skate and, this year, I have concentrated on strengthening my abdominal area. But there is nothing like getting on the ice to get your wind back. The drills that you have put me through, short bursts (12-18 seconds at top speed with 60 seconds in between the drills to recuperate), mixed in with the technique training, has really helped me with my wind, balance and strength over my skates.



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 09/1995 issue of Hockey Player Magazine®
© Copyright 1991-2001 Hockey Player® and Hockey Player Magazine®

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