News & Updates
February 9, 2018
If you read my previous post on How to Skate Like McDavid, I talked about one specific mechanic: The Tipped Hip.
In this breakdown, I talk about why the tipped hip is an important mechanic in the greater context of the Downhill Skating System. Specifically how the tipped hip generates “lean” so McDavid can skate downhill. And how McDavid could generate even more lean to skate even faster.
Let’s take a look at a quick comparison:
You might notice in both pictures, the athlete is going downhill. (But only one works with Darryl Belfry.)
But let’s break down the mechanics involved.
In the Downhill Skating System as with the Downhill Skiing System that I recently pioneered, you’ll notice the following similarities:
- No pushing
- Gliding on edges
- Leaning with body to generate changes in velocity
- Tipped Hips
Notice how McDavid is able to hold his gliding edge with his body lean in these pictures.
Let’s compare McDavid’s lean to Duchene’s lean. I looked carefully for the same drill and movement so that we’d get an accurate control.
You might notice that McDavid has more lean than Duchene. If you watch the clips of McDavid going through the Power Edge Pro, you might see that he is noticeably quicker than Duchene. Every time Duchene orients his center of mass over his skates and pushes with his legs, you might notice that he slows down.
In the above photos, notice how McDavid starts with a more aggressive lean. Then maintains his lean. You can see where his center of mass is situated compared to his legs – and compare it to Duchene. McDavid maintains his lean, while Duchene straightens up.
Then, just for interest, I put a time stamp of the gap between when McDavid released his shot, and 0.83s later when Duchene released his.
In this particular frame, you can see Duchene’s center of mass orient over his legs as he pushes with his left leg. Meanwhile, McDavid shifts his weight from foot to foot keeping his center of mass to the inside of his turn.
This is where the tipped hip is helpful.
While on one leg, McDavid can more easily orient his center of mass in the direction he wants to lean – and thus generate velocity in that direction.
So now, let’s talk about lean, fall, and center of mass.
The best way to understand this is to compare it with turning a bicycle.
You lean your body in the direction you want to go. As you can see, your center of mass orients towards the direction of the fall. You generate velocity in that direction. Same as skiing.
Back to McDavid:
What limits most players is how hard they can push into the ice. Their speed relies on their ability to generate force in the direction they want to go. But McDavid doesn’t even try to push where he wants to go. Instead, he leans where he wants to go. Like he’s riding a bike. And that’s how he’s skating downhill.
So how would we make McDavid faster?
Let’s agree for a moment that McDavid has mastered the footwork and center of mass orientation necessary for maximum speed. What then, would hold him back?
The answer is eccentric and isometric loading. To add more speed to McDavid, you would improve his ability to handle heavy loads under eccentric and isometric loads. That’s so his body can get in even more aggressive leans in more situations.
But let’s say that you are not McDavid – and you want to skate faster in all situations on the ice. What would you do?
Developing the ability to load eccentrically and isometrically will help. But not to the same degree as learning the mechanics of leaning downhill to generate velocity. You’ll know you’ve got it when you don’t have to “push” with your legs – and your velocity comes from twisting, tipping, and leaning. Then you’ve got it.
By this point, you might be wondering if I recommend the Power Edge Pro as a training system. Sure. It’s a good system. Let’s also examine another system that focuses on lean, footwork – and not pushing:
Here I point out that the system is irrelevant. But the mechanics are very relevant. In Boris’ system (Boris taught Auston Matthews since age 6 or something), his focus on edgework allows players to be comfortable leaning in more directions more aggressively. The footwork makes it easy for players to orient their feet at points of traction to provide lean.
It seems like both the Power Edge Pro and Boris are able to teach the mechanics of Downhill Skating. And the mechanics always win.
The main mechanical principle that you want to understand from this post is lean.
- The more you lean, the faster you’ll go
- The more you lean, the more you can glide on your edges instead of stopping your momentum
- You want to use foot positioning, comfort on your edges, body orientation and tipped hips to generate your lean
- If you don’t lean, you need to push to generate force. If you need to push, you’re toast.
Study NHLers center of mass relative to their feet – ask yourself what mechanics can help you achieve that. And if you’d like help answer that, you can check out the Downhill Skating System where we explain exactly how to master those mechanics.
January 28, 2018
How to Skate Like McDavid – Part 3 (Ankle Flexibility Secret)
If you want to learn how skate like McDavid, you need to understand the mechanics behind his stride. We say this often, but these NHL stars are NOT fleshy bags of magic (Thanks to Scott Adams for that term). There are mechanical principles behind their magic. That’s why we call them the Magic Mechanics.
Often overlooked in hockey: ankle mobility. One way that McDavid is able to put freakish force into the ice is with uncommon ankle mobility. In this video we see evidence of this with his off-ice training. And we examine the biomechanics behind why it matters.
Ankle mobility often holds players back from being able to put force into the ice. Not downward force into the ice. But laterally. Skaters like McDavid allow their ankles to “go soft” – which means that the ankle relaxes and the skate is allowed to tip over. This lets the edge dig into the ice.
Most skaters have rigid ankles. They look at “ankle skaters” and sneer – but their own rigidity is holding them back. When you have soft ankles, you reduce the tension of the muscles around your ankle joints and flow like water on the ice.
The effect is like a cart on a rail. From that place of stability, stars like McDavid are able to generate a ton of speed and agility while maintaining balance and control.
If you’d like to learn more about how to skate like McDavid, you can learn more here because he’s a fast skater.
June 26, 2015
I’ve poured all my knowledge into a simple, 8-week, online, video training system, which I’m pleased to announce is online now!
Would a faster first step, acceleration and top speed help your game? Of course it will! But how are you going to do that?
“I train with a trainer”
“I already have a workout plan”
“I do sprints and plyometrics”
Of course you do. You’re dedicated to improving your game and that’s why you’re here: to see if I can win your trust and actually make you faster.
I’m not going to tell you to: Train more, Lift more, Sprint more, or do more drills. Not because those things aren’t important, but because the secret to speed is hidden in the TECHNIQUE used by the fastest skaters. That is the resource that you’re missing, and that’s why you’re here.
If the following describes you, then this program won’t help, Sorry.
- You do not pay attention to detail with your off-ice development
- You are not motivated to improve your game
But if some of these other things describe you, then reading on could turboboost your training:
- You work really hard in your training sessions, but you aren’t improving as fast as you think you should
- You’ve been told that you have a weak core
- You’re just starting to train off-ice for hockey
- You suspect that by improving your technique, your workouts would make a bigger difference on the ice
- You appreciate attention to detail
- You are highly motivated to improve yourself
So, more is more? No. Not when you have faulty technique.
Speed starts with technique. We all know how important technique is for your golf swing. Would you do bench press to improve your golf swing if you had horrible swing technique? Of course not! You’d see a pro to fix your technique first, and then add strength and power through other exercises. So why would you do MORE and WORK HARDER to improve your skating speed, when you could improve your technique first.
Think Different. Everyone else is skating more, doing many drills. No one is working on the basics of technique. If you’re happy with the same results that everyone else is getting, then do the same things they’re doing. If you’re ready to stand out, then you need to find another way.
Skating is a skill that requires technique first. Once you have the foundation of excellent technique then different exercises and drills can help your skating speed. But if you don’t have good technique, it’s like building a house on a shaky foundation.
I share the secrets of developing effective skating technique in just 10-15 minutes of exercises per day. THIS CAN BE EASILY ADDED TO OR BLENDED WITH YOUR WORKOUT, or done throughout the day: it’s up to you!
If you’re tired of working so hard to only get small improvements, its time to work smarter. Working hard AND working smart is the turboboost you need to stay ahead of your competition. I’ll teach you how to work smart with this 8 Week Skating Speed Development Program, so that your hard work goes further.
Jason Yee , Train 2.0
June 3, 2015
- “Bend your knees” is not an effective cue to teach an effective skating stride. It may cause a skater to emphasize knee bend over hip hinge. Hip hinge is a primary consideration for skating speed, power and balance, and knee bend is a secondary consideration.
- Too deep of knee flexion leads to suboptimal force production angles
- Too deep of knee flexion leads to less balance and control while skating dynamically
- Learning to Hip Hinge is crucial for skaters
- Applying the Hip Hinge to the skating stride will result in more speed, balance, puck control and improved shooting
- Do not eliminate knee bend. Rather experiment with different levels to see what works for you. More knee bend is not better!
P.S. If you liked this article because it was different than most Drone Coach advice, and you’d like to get to work on becoming a Hockey Wizard, then click here to check out the benefits of becoming a Train 2.0 Member.