Downhill Skating System – How To Skate Like Connor McDavid

Welcome to Week 2 of the Downhill Skating System: How to Skate Like McDavid. This lesson is designed after careful analysis of Connor McDavid’s skating technique and thousands of hours instructing skating. This week we focus on the base mechanics of McDavid’s speed: his hip swivel, his heel push, and his footwork.

This weeks lesson is split into an On-Ice Section and an Off-Ice Section. The On-Ice Section includes 3 drills to do in practice. We suggest you do them in warm up and in – between drills. The Off-Ice Section includes 3 drills that will help you get the feel of McDavid’s hip swivel, heel push, and footwork. Together, these 6 drills will dramatically and forever change the way you skate.

How To Learn To Skate Like McDavid The Fastest!



  1. Undo your top eyelet
  2. Consider how you will implement the on-ice drills into your practice
  3. Do the off-ice drills to get the feel
  4. Use the Perfect Skill System

The Magic Mechanics Warm Up


  1. Do this warm-up before your on and off-ice skill development sessions
  2. Don’t focus on correct technique – focus on feel!

Corkscrew & Soft Hip



  1. Use your shoulders to generate your power – twist them
  2. Don’t lean your shoulders – keep your body in a cylinder
  3. Feel an elastic stretch through your core as your shoulders pull your hips
  4. Soften your ankles and let your foot rest on the boot – really let those ankles fold in
  5. Feel the twist and power from your shoulders transfer from the hips and then to your heels
  6. Let your knees travel forward to gather more speed


Soft Hip

  1. As you shift your weight to one foot, lift up your leg
  2. As you lift your leg, let it travel behind you in an arc
  3. As it travels behind you in an arc, let your hips tip
  4. As your hips tip, the leg in the air travels comes close to your opposite foot
  5. As the leg in the air comes close to your opposite foot, it plants wide again
  6. As it plants wide, you go back into the corkscrew

Hip Scissor


  1. As you’re standing there, twist your shoulders
  2. As you twist your shoulders, let your hips twist
  3. As you twist your hips let one foot travel forward
  4. As that foot travels forward, let your hips swivel
  5. As the foot travels forward, get on the outside edge of the front foot
  6. Turn your shoulders the opposite direction
  7. Let your shoulders twist your hips
  8. Opposite foot forward – on outside edge
  9. Repeat in smooth and rhythmic fashion – gathering speed

Inner Spring Crossover


    1. This week we introduce the Inner Spring Crossover. We will introduce more cues in week 3.
    2. For this week:
      1. Two hands on the stick
      2. As we crossover, the hands should travel side to side in front of the body
      3. The hands and feet are in counter-rhythm and the movement is effortless as a result
    3. Do not worry about hip twist or range. We will cover that. This week is about initiating the inner spring.

Green Light Indicators:


  • Do the Soft Hip Flow
    • Maintain level shoulders
    • No pushing – only twisting
    • Hips twist and tilf
    • Heel pressure

The Off Ice Section

These off-ice drills are designed to help you feel the mechanical principles of the Downhill Skating System. Particularly we will work on the inner spring and twist (Hip Twists +McDavid Skater Hops) and the footwork needed to “Skate Downhill”.

Corkscrew to Soft Hip (& Tilt)


  1. With a wide tripod stance, take small steps
    1. Ensure your weight is evenly distributed heel to toe
    2. Your heel should make contact each step
  2. As you shift your weight to one leg, lift the other in the air
  3. As it lifts in the air, let is swing behind, in, and around
  4. As the leg is lifted in the air, let your hips tilt
  5. Replace your left back wide
  6. Repeat the steps and then lift the opposite leg

McDavid Skater Jumps


  1. This is the same exercise as week 1 but we add one new cue: The Tipped Hip
  2. Each time you hop, let your hips tip towards the middle (like the picture)
  3. You don’t want any tension through your glutes – you just want to bounce off the hip

McDavid Crossovers


  1. Do standard crossovers in place
    1. Speed and range do not matter
  2. Ensure that on every step your heel touches the ground (both feet)
  3. Adjust your footing and hip twist to ensure your heels always touch the ground on each step
  4. Allow your ankles to soften and your hips to twist
  5. In week 3, we introduce more cues. But for now, focus on always getting the heel onto the ground.

Green Light Indicators:

  • You can do crossovers for 30 s with heels always touching the ground
  • You can do skater hops with tipped hips each time
  • You can do soft hips with tipped hips each time – and step wide on the heels