Elements of Power in Hockey Skating

In my 40 years of teaching experience, I have too often watched (in amazement) coaches stressing quick feet while overlooking power generation. Of course quickness is vital—but so is power! And in order to achieve power, players need to push correctly!

Hockey is comprised of numerous intricate and complicated skating maneuvers such as the forward stride, backward stride, crossovers, starts, stops, turns, transitional moves, pivots and angling. All these maneuvers are comprised of numerous strides (or steps). Because there is no such thing in hockey skating as taking a stride without using an accompanying push, players need to know which push to use and how to execute that push correctly. Each hockey skating push is specific to that stride or maneuver and its purpose is to generate power on that specific stride. The totality of all the pushes in any skating maneuver—performed correctly, powerfully and quickly—results in speed.

Whether skating straight forward, straight backward, crossing over (forward or backward), weaving, starting, or turning, all pushes must adhere to the four elements of power generation. I call these elements the Windup, Release, Follow-through and Return.

  • The Windup: The windup is a coiling action. It is necessary to prepare the skater for power generation on the upcoming push. Its function can be compared to the backswing of a baseball bat, tennis racquet or golf club.

  • The Release and Follow-through: The release and follow-through are the actual work done by the pushing skate and leg during each push.

  • The Return: The recovery of the pushing skate and leg. The return prepares the skater for power generation (speed) on the next push.

For details on Windup, Release, Follow-through, and Return, click here and download The Importance of Pushing Correctly.

Editor’s Note: Thank you to Laura Stamm of Laura Stamm Power Skating for this story. Kelly Anton, managing editor of the Grow the Game initiative, edited this story.
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