Should we think about different skating techniques, when planning exercises and methods for off-ice training?

Skating is the most critical skill for hockey players. Many times we hear the sentence “This player is a great skater”. What does it mean? What makes someone to be a good skater? If player skates very fast straight forward, does it mean that this player is a good skater?

Skating in ice hockey

We have to understand that skating in ice hockey is a very wide notion. Skating includes numerous different techniques:

  • forward crossovers
  • backward crossovers
  • backward skating
  • start & acceleration
  • different stop techniques
  • different pivots and turns.

And that is just to name a few of the skating techniques needed in icehockey.

Biomechanics make the true master of skating

Each of the foregoing techniques includes multiple unique details which make it whole. Should the coaches who are responsible of players development off the ice, take the different skating techniques into account while planning strength and condition exercises and methods?

Yes they should! Pro Prospect’s training methods & exercises are based on the knowledge of biomechanics behind different skating techniques in ice hockey. We respect the fact that different skating techniques demand different physiological characteristics. It is easy to clear this up by comparing straight forward skating and straight backward skating.

Straight forward skating is quite straightforward for the body

While skating forward player should extend hip joint and rotate it laterally. Then he should extend his knee and ankle. This motion is quite natural for a human body. It is pretty easy to find off-ice exercises and methods to support this skating technique.

This kind of exercises we see most often while watching ice hockey teams practicing at the gym or running around the field. It’s easy to forget that straight forward skating is only one skating technique. Nevertheless people use most of their time by training this skating technique.

Straight backward skating needs more from the lower body

Straight backward skating technique demands totally different neuromuscular partways than straight forward skating. Player has to be able to create power in a different way to make him move backward. Player should start backward stride with medial rotation of hip, knee and ankle.

Player should create propulsion forward sideways, which isn’t a natural way to work for a human body. Player’s upper body should be more vertical and hip joint should be ”open” during backward skating. Creating the exercises which are supporting this kind of motion is more difficult.

A lot of questions but also answers

What kind of exercises would you do to support backward skating technique? Which physical characteristics are critical in this skating technique? Which muscles are activated during backward skating and what is the activation order of the muscles? Why player’s upper body has to be more vertical while skating backward?

Pro Prospect method of skating techniques will give you the answers for the questions above. If you are interested to develop your know-how of skating and skating related off-ice methods, please contact us and let’s talk more.


Sami Kaartinen

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