How to Skate Like McDavid – Part 3 (Ankle Flexibility Secret)
Updated: Jul 16, 2019
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.