June 2, 2018

Changing Direction Faster Than Dahlin – How To Improve Lateral Mobility In Hockey

If you’ve ever experienced game-changing advice, it usually goes something like this:

  • You hear words or see something
  • Something clicks in your head
  • You test it out
  • You can’t believe how effective it is!
  • You wonder how you EVEN SURVIVED before you knew this thing

Studying Dahlin’s Movements unlocks those game-changing moments. It’s like he’s figured out how to exploit physics better than anyone else. And so many of his movements are opposite. (Everything popular is wrong)

He doesn’t generate tension to move laterally. He gets more relaxed.

He doesn’t push to skate forward. He doesn’t skate forward at all.

He’s rewiring our brains in real time as we watch him. Because he shatters our reality of what we think is possible with skating.

Here we examine how Dahlin is able to turn tighter without getting contracting his muscles. And this is the key to your lateral mobility.

Let’s examine this play here. You might see how Dahlin changes angles really quickly to get around the defender. If you look closely at the movement, it doesn’t come from a push. but rather an angle change of his left foot.

The result of the left angle change is a shortening of the radius of his left foot arc. Imagine the circles below as the hypothetical arc of Dahlin’s Skate blade trajectory.

Remember that as you tighten the arc, point G (Center of Mass) travels further away from the point P. Thus creating movement without pushing.

Let’s consider the neuromechanics of this movement.

Remember that your brain is limited in its ability to recruit muscles. This is based on your Motor Cortex’s ability to recruit muscles through the Alpha Motor Neurons. The motor cortex has an upward limit of alpha motor neuron recruitment. These motor neurons create contractions in your muscles. And those contractions generally create movement.

Consider what Dahlin is doing here…

Rather than push with his left leg – which would require muscular contraction, and therefore neural resources – he relaxes his right leg allowing himself to fall. His left leg and foot are oriented in such a way to take advantage of the fall to change direction. They’re on an arc created by the skate blade interface with the ice.

Most players use muscular contractions to change direction – Dahlin uses muscular relaxation to change direction. It’s a little mind-boggling.

Especially when you try it on the ice like I do here.

This is the OPPOSITE way that I used to skate. I kept having to tell myself NOT to push. It was an intense rewiring of an old movement pattern. Remember that I was notoriously bad at 1on1’s on the attack. (Self-Assessment). I had one gear – skate fast around other players. If that didn’t work I was hooped. You DO NOT want to get where I got and realize that your skill set had a shelf life.

Here’s the interesting thing for players of all ages: Dahlin’s Skating Technique (Downhill) doesn’t require powerful muscular contractions. It requires improved movement patterns and relaxation.

So the improvements you see with learning the Downhill Skating Mechanics happen irrespective of your ability to generate powerful muscular contractions. We often worry that our ability to generate muscular contractions declines with age. But if the main indicator of success is relaxation and patterning instead of power – then your age-related decline in physical capacities doesn’t matter as much – or at all…

If you’d like to learn more about the Downhill Skating System and see the full breakdown of the video above, you can do that here.

If you’d like us to send you Video Drill Per Day to Practice, you can do that here.

Thanks for reading today.

-Jason

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