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May 30, 2018

Dahlin’s Point Play – Forward to Backward Transitions

Dahlin is pretty good at skating forward. But I’ve never seen such dynamic point play going from forward to backward to forwards. He’s like the McDavid of defense. What is behind his transitions? Special Swedish Sauce? Magic Dahlin Dust?

As many of you know, I prefer applying ideas from physics instead of magic.

Let’s look at how Dahlin transitions from forward to backward so fluidly. Let’s look at one key mechanic: Internal hip rotation.

For those that don’t know, internal hip rotation is pointing your toes inwards. As if you’re pigeon toed. Datsyuk is a renowned pigeon-toed player. My Russian coach was a funny pigeon-toed walker, but probably the most beautiful skater I’ve ever seen.

Some of you might already think that Dahlin MIGHT have an unnatural internal hip rotation. We can’t rule that out. But most of the time, what seems like a mobility problem is something I call a “Perceived Mobility Problem”. If you experiment with different alignments you can probably find a way to get into the right positions – where mobility doesn’t limit you. I have pretty “normal” mobility. Before breaking this play down, this is something I didn’t think I could do. Until I tried it.

On this play, Dahlin transitions backward to forward, forward to backward, and then shoots. As he transitions, he dekes the pants off this poor forward.

The first two mechanics he uses are well known:

  1. As he receives the puck he’s in a 10&2 or Mohawk (whatever you want to call it). He shifts his weight from right to left as he receives the puck.
  2. He gets into a wide stance. We covered this in the last article.

After that, things get more exotic and spicy. This is stuff we haven’t seen before.

  1. Aggressive left hip internal rotation. In order to do this his hip, knee, and ankle flex. You see his right knee move forward. This is a key mechanic that gets around the “Perceived Mobility Problem”.
  2. The left hip internal rotation changes his momentum from directly forward to going. The blue arrow is his initial momentum. The red is his momentum after the left foot c-cut/left hip internal rotation
  3. From here, he skids his right foot as he internally rotates it. When his right foot blade aligns with the red arrow, he allows the edge to dig in. Now his momemtum is the same, but he’s shifted from forward to backwards, and from left foot to right foot.
  4. Now Dahlin has a ton of space and can get his shot off. Something we’ll talk about more in future articles.

You can probably see how Dahlin’s aggressive internal hip rotation allows him to get on an aggressive arc. This arc changes his momentum so that the transition from forward to backward is seamless. It’s much harder to transition from forward to backward if your momentum isn’t going in the same direction. Dahlin’s internal hip rotation solves for that.

Do I suggest mobility drills to improve your internal rotation? No.

They will help. They’re good for you. But they are not needed to get internal hip rotation like Dahlin.

In the Downhill Skating System, we just posted a breakdown on how to position your knees and ankles for maximal internal hip rotation. We explain exactly how to get around the “Perceived Mobility Problem”.

I wrote this article so that you see what Dahlin is doing from the perspective of a kinesiologist x pro hockey player. If you think that adding this to your game will help, I suggest that you experiment with mechanics to get around the “Perceived Mobility Problem”. The hope is that suggesting that mobility isn’t the problem will encourage you to explore new ways of moving – like Dahlin. And if you’d like to see the exact movement experiments that I worked through to get to this point, and to help our Train 2.0 Members, you can see that in the Downhill Skating System.

And in case you’re really liking my blogs, but want to listen to my ideas on the go, I’d love for you to check out my Podcast called the Train 2.0 Show. It’s really good for listening to and from the rink. Or perhaps while you’re training. Or clearning. That’s usually when I listen to podcasts.

Thanks for reading today.

-Jason

May 27, 2018

How To Skate Like Nathan MacKinnon

Today you learn the many ways Downhill Skating is analogous to skiing. But power skating coaches usually instruct a “skateboarding style”.

I must admit that many of my Downhill Skating insights came from the ski slope. I didn’t start skiing until I was 21, and in the last 7 years I’ve improved each year. As my skiing technique improved, so did my skating technique. My Downhill skating to be precise.

Downhill Skating implies momentum – like how skiing is downhill. With forward momentum, you use the profile of your ski/blade to til over and put yourself on an arc to turn. Downhill skating and skiing both require weight shifts plus edging to control your direction and maintain your momentum. They both require subtle shifts in weight by moving the pelvis.

Skateboarding is similar to Power Skating because you have a vector based on your wheels or blades. And then you use one leg to push to gain speed. Once you’re at speed, pushing to change direction is useless, and all you can do is lean the board a bit and hope not to fall off.

The similarities between skiing and skating continue past this analogy. And those similarities unlock the secrets to strides like Nathan MacKinnon.

When you’re skiing from the base of one chairlift to another and striding, you learn that you cannot flick the toe. You can generate a primary impulse through your heel. This keeps the entire ski (skate blade) on the snow (ice) as you extend the hips and knee. The toe only begins its force production at the end of your hip twist.

It was here that I realized:

Most coaches (skating, strength and conditioning, skill) assume that the pelvis remains fixed while the striding leg femur externally rotates extends and abducts. Or at least I did. What actually happens is that the ski/skate remains fixed while the pelvis moves.

The anatomical movement of the femur in relation to the pelvis is the same. External rotation, abduction, and extension. But the point of reference is all off. And I think it screws everybody up. EVERYBODY.

Very few understand just how earth-shattering this is. But now you do. I’m sure someone is gonna tell me that this knowledge is documented in an obscure figure skating books from the 1970’s – but this knowledge is not taught in hockey or power skating. As this idea catches on, watch as skaters transform in front of your eyes.

Key Takeaway: The pelvis moves in relation to the feet to generate force. Not the other way around.

When Mackinnon Strides out, he can keep his entire blade on the ice longer than many other players. This is because he keeps his heel on the ice longer. When he extends in the ankle, it’s more of an uncoiling or whip effect as the pelvis finishes its twist.

If you think of keeping your pelvis facing forward and then externally rotating, abducting, and extending your leg to push away from you at a 45-degree angle, you’ll immediately feel your groin pull. It might not actually pull – but you’ll feel a strain.

If you do the same motion, but twist your pelvis, the striding leg snaps into a fully extended position.

While the feet stay oriented in space, the pelvis rotates so that the striding leg’s femur externally rotates, abducts, and extends. Meanwhile, the front leg internally rotates, adducts, and flexes relative to the pelvis.

The Meta-Principle here is feet oriented in space, pelvis generates movement.

The corkscrew is a movement used by defensemen on the breakout, McDavid on breakaways, and MacKinnon while deking. In all these situations, the feet are oriented and the pelvis generates movement. But very few players do this movement. Likely because they think they need to keep their pelvis in place while their feet move instead of the other way around.

Since most players get tighter at speed, most players lose the ability to use this movement. So they lose optionality, reactivity, and flow at speed.

The reason that the corkscrew is such an important movement is that it gives players optionality while counterbalancing the hands’ movement.

Optionality: A move that can transition into 3, 4, 5 other moves

Counterbalance: Every time the hands move, the pelvis counter rotates to maintain equilibrium

It’s exciting that it took me a long time to figure out to explain something that I’ve been FEELING for several years. It’s exciting because when I can explain what I feel – it gives you a better chance of feeling it too. It’s useful to note that I have a degree in Kinesiology from a top 35 school in the world and I took special courses in functional anatomy. The reason I bring this up is that if I struggled to explain in anatomical terms what I’m feeling, I doubt that anyone else has done this. And this means that you’ve found an informational advantage. I hope that you put this to good use by executing on your information arbitrage.

If you’d like help with that, I created a video course called the Downhill Skating System. You can learn how the step by step video instructions, drills, and breakdowns will walk you through exactly how to learn what we discussed in todays article. I’d love if you checked it out.

Thanks for reading today.

-Jason

April 4, 2018

How Skate Effortlessly – Forward Stride Mechanics

In this post, I explain the edge rollover for effortless striding. And we discuss how new skate boot technology allows the young stars to exploit this key mechanic for a new standard of skating.

The tough part about hockey is that it is this curvy, rotate-y, weird-y sport. Plus, the human body moves under a bunch of equipment. So you get people who haven’t studied the movement making recommendations based on surface observations.

When I say study, I mean STUDIED. Like do you know the origin and insertion of every muscle? Have you reworked your own stride? Have you put your skin in the game and published what you think works? Have you instructed thousands of players?

It’s okay to put out ideas about the stride and movement that are wrong. I do it all the time. But you need to adjust your hypothesis as evidence comes in. I do my best to do that.

I never looked at the stride part of the stride. Until now.

I posted this video on Instagram:

And my astute members pointed out toe push. By now, you know I’m the guy who talks about heel pressure and demonizes the toe push. You also know that it’s not a black or white situation in hockey. The body adapts to movement demands.

I had to dig deep into my brains to figure out how Larkin, McDavid, and MacKinnon stride forward without relying on the toe push.

The answer is the edge rollover. I talked about the edge rollover here. But I discussed it in the context of transitional skating. Since many are obsessed with the straight-ahead stride, (despite its minimal contribution to in-game performance at higher levels) I will indulge you.

Power Skating Coaches teach the stride like this:

  1. Get low
  2. Push back with your striding leg
  3. If you’re low, you get a long stride

The focus here is on the knee angle and the depth of the hips.

On the surface, it looks like Wizard skaters skate like this too. We look at a picture of McDavid, draw some lines, and BOOM! That’s our “analysis”.

If we look at another angle, we see a different picture. Let’s examine the angle between the skate boot and the ice.

If you let this angle shrink by falling forward, what happens? The support leg goes forward. The further you fall forward, the more your knee bends. The more you fall and the more your knee bends, the longer you stride.

 

With Downhill skating, you are literally just catching yourself as you fall. This is the EXACT same as POSE Method Running. One step leads to the next.

This image is thanks to posemethod.com

 

The acceleration phase of the sprinting stride sees athletes with an aggressive forward lean. Their center of mass is forward.

This image thanks to digitaltrackandfield.com

I seriously do not blame power skating coaches. The stride is tricky. It’s hard to tell what is going on under all the pads. And explaining these concepts for the first time is tricky. Let me try to summarize these new ideas here:

  • The support leg bends to support the fall.
  • The striding leg extends as the body falls forward and away from the foot.
  • The edge rolls over as the angle between boot and ice shrinks.

Skate boots are very stiff nowadays. Many of you know that I recommend undoing eyelets with the Downhill Skating system. So you probably wonder why we don’t just go back to older, less stiff skates. I wondered the same thing. But what if today’s Downhill skater was leveraging the stiffness of their boot. Literally using the stiffness to efficiently transfer energy from the leg to the ice. That makes sense when you look at these clips here.

The ankle joint acts like a pivot for an ankle lever.

My hope is that you can take this information and apply it for in-game results. If you’d like to see the program I put together for my members to learn these concepts faster, the same way I teach my players, I created the Downhill Skating System which you can check out here.

How did I do describing these new concepts? Please give me your feedback on what was clear or unclear. What you saw that I didn’t. It’s part of the process of moving the game forward. [email protected]

Thank you for reading today. It means the world to me 🙂

-Jason

 

February 8, 2016

How to Get a Stronger Core without Situps – & How Slippery Players are Slippery

How To Get A Stronger Core Without Doing Situps – And How Slippery Players Are Slippery from Jason Yee on Vimeo.

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.

December 15, 2015

How to Skate Like Jack Eichel – The Uncommon Instructions

 

We’ve all witnessed the fluidity, freaky speed, and graceful stride belonging to Mr. Jack Eichel. Is this preternatural skill? Could be. And can we stop drooling over it? I can’t. And players everywhere always ask me: how can I skate like Jack Eichel.

So then, here’s an even better question: can it be taught? Can everyday players learn to skate like Jack Eichel?

 

We can probably agree that many coaches are dogmatic. By this, I mean that they cling to one particular set of ideas pertaining to what is right and wrong. When presented with evidence that disconfirms their particular ideology, they enter into an interesting psychological state known as cognitive dissonance.

Isn’t it also true that most players, parents and fans are also this way? That is why I have started adding disclaimers in my articles forewarning readers of the dissonance they are about to experience through reading my uncommon (yet usually effective) perspective.

I’ll pause here for the people who are growing bored with my psychology babble to tell you that the magic trick you’re looking for is “weight shifts”. Ok get lost. Thanks for reading up until now. If you haven’t liked the article up until this point, you definitely won’t like the rest.

Ok, now back to the full explanation on how to skate like Jack Eichel:

Jack Eichel skates a bit weird, right? He seems to shuffle from side to side while gaining speed effortlessly. So wouldn’t it make sense that the advice to needed to skate like Jack Eichel is also a bit weird. You bet!

Here it is… (again)

Weight shifts.

What was our first question? Can Jack Eichel’s skating principles/style be taught?

Let’s first see if you can identify what I mean by weight shifts. See if you can catch them here.

When Jack Eichel skates, he has figured out how to use gravity and momentum to his advantage. He leverages these laws with his body mechanics of shifting his weight.

Hmm, who else preaches weight shifts/transfers?

Mr. Darryl Belfry.

,Can you catch where Darryl coaches weight shifts?

No? How about here?

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 9.22.33 AM

Or here?

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 9.23.52 AM

Hmm, it sounds like weight shifts/transfers can be taught, doesn’t it? Now, let’s talk about how and what to teach.

Example from Speed Skating

So let’s again look to speed skaters to see a clear example of the principles of gravity and momentum at play in a skating stride. Notice two things, 1) the circular motion of this skater’s right foot and 2) the diagonal pushing pattern.

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 9.32.54 AM

Circular right foot: push out and back

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 9.32.05 AM

Circular right foot: pushes out and more back

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 9.32.14 AM

Circular right foot: gets to full extension

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 9.32.23 AM

Circular right foot: Continues circle, now coming in and forward

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 9.32.36 AM

Circular right foot: Continues circle, in and moving forward

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 9.32.44 AM

Circular right foot: planting on inside edge

You can see this live here:

https://youtu.be/SSmwi9IAtEA?t=1m19s

Circular leg motion:

Rather than a diagonal and linear movement straight out and straight back in, the leg travels in a circular motion out, then out and back, then up and in, then forward and in, then back out, then out and back. This uses momentum and smooth biomechanics of the leg so there’s never an acceleration or deceleration of the leg, it’s always moving, like in a running stride.

 

Diagonal Stepping:

The only way you can maintain this circular stepping is with diagonal pushes. Rather than skating in a straight line, you’ll notice that the speed skater here pushes their body in a slightly lateral direction on each push. This again keeps momentum up, and mimics the falling mechanics of a good runner.

You’ll see here that the skater pushes diagonally and shifts laterally to make his next step.

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 9.51.29 AM

Momentum from his right leg push is propelling him laterally to his left.

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 9.51.39 AM

The skater is about to plant on the outside edge. Yes, I said outside edge.

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 9.51.48 AM

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 9.52.08 AM

Oh, and there he goes. Planting on the outside edge. You can see that he has shifted laterally, and is planted on the outside edge.

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 9.52.16 AM

He continues using his momentum, “falling” with the energy of the stride”

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 9.53.05 AM

Now to correct the fall, he transfers to his inside edge and begins pushing WITH the momentum.

Back to Hockey

MMMM’kay. So that was a speed skating example. Of course, in hockey you rarely take more than 4-5 linear strides at a time in a game setting. Most of the time it is between 1-2 linear strides. So just how important is this? I dunno…? Fairly important. Watch Jack Eichel start behind an opposing player in a race for the puck…like WAYYY back, and pass him in ONE STRIDE! I’ve started the video at 1:30, and the ONE SINGLE STRIDE where he absolutely gasses his opponent, EFFORTLESSLY happens at 1:31. You may want to rewind and stop and go a bit to catch the diagonal movement, circular leg motion, and the stepping on the outside edge. It is that step that generates all the acceleration to beat his opponent.

Same clip, but here he is again:

Now there are also situations in which you simply can’t take full strides as a hockey player. What does Eichel do?

He still uses both principles. He’ll use a circular leg motion and a diagonal push. His push is almost imperceptible, but because he leverages the power of momentum and gravity, he’s able to INCREASE his speed.

Same clip again, but abbreviated strides. You’ll see the similarities between the above full strides and the abbreviated strides after watching a couple of times.

Here again, at 3:56 he’ll use extremely abbreviated steps. But the weight shift and diagonal circular steps are still detectable.

Hmmmmmmmmmm. What does that look like to you? Who has taught us that before? Oh, how about Belfry????

Check out Belfry teaching this subtle, yet dangerous manoeuvre to Tavares at 0:54.

 

Freaky eh?

 

What to do now?

Ok, so now you should probably go to you local power skating coach and ask them to teach you this stuff right?

Doubt it.

Show them this article, and watch their face drop. Then they might tell you something like Jack Eichel’s stick is too long or something. They might even tell you they can improve Mr. Eichel’s skating because he’s skating all wrong, and I’m all wrong. Maybe I am? Who knows. But this is a tell for cognitive dissonance, which you should at least be aware of.

 

[Note I love Coach Prusso’s stuff, I just don’t agree with him about the stick thing, which is something I saw he wrote an article on while researching this article]

What to actually do now…

At this point, I wish I could point you to a resource that explains how to skate like Eichel from start to finish. It doesn’t seem to be out there. Maybe I will create it one day. But until now, I’d suggest studying these videos, getting video of yourself skating, and comparing the two. I honestly doubt that any power skating coaches teach this stuff other than Belfry. If they do, it’s a mystery to me, and I’m fairly well researched when it comes to this stuff. (Please tell me if there is someone who does teach this stuff).

In writing this article, I was heavily consulted by a former professional figure skater who mentioned that this type of thinking is rare even in figure skating. Like in hockey, the understanding of how to skate is linear and simple. Simple rules like: don’t swing your arms side to side, have full extension, bend your knees.

The fact that simple and moderately useless rules exist to teach players nowadays is only of benefit to players like Eichel who somehow inherited his glorious stride…and YOU, who is willing to research how and what to do to develop yours.

I know I have presented more than enough contrarian evidence to invoke significant anger in many of you, and you won’t even know why. I am fine with that. If you’d like some more evidence (I know you don’t actually) of the circular motion and diagonal stepping, you can see it here, hereherehere, and here. But for those who are interested in an uncommon (and more effective) approach to skating, please let me know how this goes for you.

-Jason

If you think this video was over the top, you should see this one.

 

July 7, 2015

Get a Faster First Step, Faster

Would a faster first step, acceleration and top speed help your game? Of course it will! How are you going to do that? Train more? Lift more? Sprint more?
More is more? No. Not always.
I’ve written time and time again that the thesis of “working harder” and “doing more” is an old and obsolete one. To improve in the old days, since no one trained using weights, if you simply trained using weights, you’d probably get ahead. Nowadays, everyone is lifting weights, running, doing WODs and snorting pre-workout to get ahead. As a trainer, if I’m not finding, distilling and instructing my athletes with the most carefully curated information, I’m wasting your money and worst of all, your time.
jasonice
When it comes to improving skating speed, it’s wildly tempting to try the following things:
  • Sprint
  • Hill sprints
  • Plyometrics
  • Lifting Weights
  • Olympic Lifting
  • Powerlifting
  • AMRAP Powercleans (or equally ridiculous physical challenge)
  • Agility Ladders

But if we’re serious about getting you a faster step, faster, then we need to RESPECT THE PROGRESSIONS FOR SKATING SPEED DEVELOPMENT. Respecting the progressions will speed your development more than going for “quick wins”, “doing more”, and “doing what everyone else is doing”.

June 3, 2015

Blog Article: Everything Popular is Wrong – Skating Technique and Knee Bend

Introduction:
Here is yet another reference to a Tim Ferriss Concept, this one from the Four Hour Body. I continue to learn things with regards to hockey development, or my life…and I can hear one of his sayings resonating in my head from a book I read 4 years ago. “Everything popular is wrong” was ringing in my head as I realized that one of the most common skating technique cues was something that was really messing me up. Here we go…
“Bend Your Knees”
Ya, I’ll go ahead and tackle this one. I’ve taken a shot at the forward arm swing, and now I’m gonna tell you that knee bend doesn’t matter. Well actually, I’ll tell you that knee bend does matter…but more is not better.
History
If you go back and look at old games, you’ll very rarely see players with a deep knee bend. They may look hunched over, but that is due to hip flexion. Hip flexion is the angle between your upper leg and your torso. If you look at clips of speed skaters, you also rarely see a deep knee bend, but rather a deep level of hip flexion to allow their torso to come forward.
We got mixed up, somewhere…
The same well known power skating school that I beat up upon (but honourably leave unnamed) preaches the idea of at least a 90 degree knee bend and an upper body angle of 50 degrees. Why? I have no clue. It seems like they arbitrarily thought that both of those angles were ideal. Or maybe they did some research. Who knows, but both cues have trickled down, and many power skating coaches now use those cues.

50 degree upper body angle and 90 degree knee bend? Doesn’t look like it to me.

NHL – What works? What do we see?
Let’s take a look at Toews. This guy is absolutely nowhere near the upper body angle recommended by power skating coaches. How much knee bend does he have? Not much. What he does have is hip flexion. He hinges at the hips and sticks his butt back to maintain balance.

Crosby, Ovechkin, Kane, Benn, Tavares, Datsyuk – all have different levels of knee bend depending on their bodies. But all have good hip flexion and less knee flexion than you think.

Knee Bend? Yes! 90 degrees? No! But more importantly: hips back in hip hinge.

Force Production
By having straighter knees, and more hip flexion, the body is in a more balance position. This allows the skater to generate force more quickly from their support leg with their hip. Meanwhile, a more flexed knee needs to travel back behind the body before being able to generate forward force from the hip. With a deep knee flexion, the leg can generate force, but with the knee extensors (quadriceps). The hips (glutes) are much more powerful than the quads at generating force.
Straighter knees allows the musculature of the lower leg to be recruited earlier. For example, researchers at the fine University of British Columbia found that soleus is recruited when the knee is in a bent position and that both the soleus and gastrocnemius are recruited in an extended knee position. So having the leg straighter has the lower leg in a more advantageous force producing situation. Also, with the knees straighter, the hips have to sit back to compensate, putting them in a more advantageous force production situation. When both knees are highly flexed, in order to extend the leg behind the body, the skater either knees other wordly flexible hip flexors (which, when tight impede hip extension), or they compensate by generating force laterally or not at all. Less knee flexion allows the legs to extend more directly behind the body.
Balance
When a skater has more hip flexion and less knee flexion, they can shift their balance by subtly moving their hips forward and back. When a skater has more knee flexion, they have to use larger ankle movements to shift their balance forward and back. The ankles, being further away from the centre of the body provide less leverage and are therefore not optimal for shifting body weight, but are instead useful for locomotion. So a larger knee bend shifts the responsibility of weight shifting to the ankles, which are not ideal for the task. Meanwhile, being in hip flexion allows the responsibility of weight shifts to originate closer to the body’s centre.
I had a teammate comment that he thought I got too low and got stuck on railroad tracks too often. He was right. I thought, because I had been told, that my strength as a skater came from my knee bend. But this knee bend actually made it more difficult for me to change direction.
Why we went wrong:
Very easy for someone without expertise to do, we confuse what we think we see with what is actually going on. We see deep levels of hip flexion from a speed skater, or a skater who looks strong, and we think its knee bend, because we don’t actually know very much about hip flexion of hip hinging. We describe what we know, and we know knee bend.
Making the adjustment
If you’re buying what I’m saying, experiment with skating with less knee bend. Make sure to compensate for less knee bend by sticking your bum further back. Make sure to also keep your ribcage down when you’re skating. Don’t eliminate knee bend, but play with a more extended position. Let your hip hinge dictate your knee bend. Pay attention to the ease with which you can generate force. If you find yourself in a position that’s easier to generate force, try that position out for a bit. Also, pay attention to how your stick handling and shooting improves or doesn’t with less knee bend, more hip hinge and a bit more forward torso angle.
If you know that you already have deep knee flexion, try sticking your butt further behind you and up, keeping your spine neutral. If you know that you don’t have knee flexion and your coaches are telling you to bend them more: politely nod, ignore them, practice the hip hinge, work on sticking your butt further behind you while skating.
Hip Hinge
If a skater cannot hip hinge correctly (flex the hips while maintaining neutral spine), this whole article will not help them. The skater who cannot hip hinge should first learn how to do so before attempting to improve any other aspect of their game.
Summary
  • “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.

May 12, 2014

Updated May 2014: Why the term fast feet should never apply to hockey

Updated to reflect some new knowledge and perspectives that I’ve come across regarding the term “fast feet” or “quick feet”.

  • Updated to make things simpler to understand
  • Clarify the difference between what we see on the ice and how we train to make that happen.
  • Better understand why blade contact time is important.

Read More

December 5, 2013

My Skating Manifesto

For one of my classes, I had to write a piece on the biomechanics and physiological requirements for an effective skating stride. It is full of technical jargon, but if you’re interested in what I think about the skating stride, give it a read! Post any questions for clarification in the comments section.

Read More

July 21, 2013

Arm Swing for Hockey Players

Most people will tell you that you should swing your arms forward for maximum efficiency. This is why they are wrong. Read More