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What’s the hype about Power Skating?

All players have strengths and weaknesses that require consistent practice to maintain and enhance on-ice performance. I believe strong skating is the foundation of everything in hockey, which is why power skating is so important – it enables players to build strength, power and speed. A few points to remember about power skating are:

-Bend your knees
-Maintain proper upper body positioning
-Utilize the toe flick

Bend Your Knees

One key aspect of power skating I always watch for is whether players bend their knees enough. Getting low by bending your knees helps develop leg strength and achieve a longer stride, which leads to greater speed and power. This is often difficult for young players because leg strength simply isn’t present, but the goal is to develop strength over time. If you start to straighten your knees and stand more upright, you won’t develop the strength or technique needed to become a stronger skater.

Maintain Proper Upper Body Positioning

Proper upper body positioning is also crucial to power skating success. You should almost feel like you’re sitting in a chair. Your head and chest should be up, and positioned slightly in front of your knees. However, you don’t want to be hunched over and have to remember to keep your knees bent so you stay low.

Utilize the Toe Flick

Within your stride, there are little nuances you need to perfect. For instance, when you push all the way out and back on one leg, your toe should be pushing into the ice using the inside edge of your blade. Utilizing this toe flick adds extra strength and speed to your stride.

Identifying the Hype

So, what’s the hype about power skating? I’ve already established that it helps players build strength, power and speed, but there’s more to it than that. No matter how impressive your other hockey skills are, you won’t be able to fully utilize them because you’ll always be one step behind (literally) if you can’t win races to the puck. I believe you’ll develop your stickhandling, passing and shooting skills faster if you’re able to get to the puck before your opponents because you’ll have an opportunity to take action during puck possession. Therefore, strong skating abilities enable higher performance in all areas.

Consider Connor McDavid’s skating skills. He incorporates a lot of crossovers and zig zagging rather than being straight away, which is currently changing the coaching style of power skating. But, he stays low, has excellent footwork and has developed an immense amount of strength to achieve bursts of power and speed. He can reach the puck before his opponents, which provides him with endless opportunities to make plays and improve other skills. He’s a great player to study and observe to help improve your skating ability.

Players who move up to higher levels of hockey are typically all strong skaters. Therefore, power skating should be your first priority if you’re going to invest in skill development, especially if you have limited funds (which most of us do).

Power Skating Camps

I focus on teaching balance, agility, power and control during my power skating camps. Video analysis is conducted for each player so we can clearly identify areas for improvement, such as the mechanics of a proper stride.

My next three-day camp is being held from July 10 to 12 at Servus Credit Union Place in St. Albert. All ages are welcome and we still have room for new registrants.

So there you have it! The hype about power skating is legitimate and I strongly encourage you to invest in improving your skating skills.