How Skate Effortlessly – Forward Stride Mechanics
Updated: Jul 16, 2019
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:
- Get low
- Push back with your striding leg
- 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.
The acceleration phase of the sprinting stride sees athletes with an aggressive forward lean. Their center of mass is forward.
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 summarise 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 be coached on Downhill Skating, I created a free presentation for you. You'll learn:
1. The hidden cost of "Power Skating" mechanics
2. The new skating technique of today's NHL stars
3. How to learn Downhill Skating yourself.