How To Become A Faster Skater
Widely regarded as the fastest team sport, hockey requires speed. While a lot of coaches preach about speed with the puck, speed without it may be more important. After all, think about how often you see two players racing toward a puck compared to one skating away with it.
Yes, some players naturally skate faster than others — but you can become a faster skater. By paying attention to three key areas impacting your speed, you can start winning some of those puck chases.
After we first learn to stand when wearing skates, how much time do most of us invest in becoming a better skater? Answer: Not enough.
It is always good to review the basics of proper skating technique:
Better skaters aren’t born, they’re created on the ice and, not surprisingly, in the gym.
Volumes can be written on hockey — and speed-specific training — but aim for the following:
Beyond that, remember to work your core, perfect your squat technique and run sprints. Long runs are for conditioning, sprints are for training.
Your gear can help or hurt your mission to skate faster.
Hockey pants that are too long (past the middle of your kneecap when your legs are straight) can restrict your movement. Cheaper pants without four-way stretch material (running left to right and front to back) can also bog down your stride.
For most players, the choice comes down to traditional hockey pants — with zippers on the inside of the pant leg for players who like to put their skates on before their pants — and girdles. The latter are a form of compression gear, with built-in padding, and proponents claim enhanced freedom of movement — thus, better speed — is a benefit.
Sharp blades and the right blade profile, or hollow, based on your weight and skating style are also essential.
Of course, most of us find we skate better on a better — and better-fitting — skate.
Here’s how to ensure a good fit:
Now, Slow Down
Pause to fully consider the Three F’s of going fast — Form, Function and Fit — and make a plan. Remember, too, that this isn’t about fast feet so much as a powerful stride. The foot you lift off the ice isn’t as important as the one pushing you forward. Keep pushing. You’ll skate better and skate faster.