Can you make me/my child skate faster?
The most common question or request I get is: Can you make me/my child skate faster?
The real answer is yes and no!
Many factors are involved in skating fast or faster:
2) BMI (body mass index)
4) Foot Speed
5) Mental Game
1) Technique: This is related to kinesiology, the study of human movement and physics, in addition to the study of movement, ice and skates and skate blades, and the study of the ever evolving game of hockey and equipment. Examples of this are: maximizing the length of your stride, great posture that puts more mass on top of your skates for more power, and maximizing the amount of blade on the ice and powerful toe flick.
2) BMI (body mass index): This is the amount of muscle to fat ratio. Also, the overall muscle mass you have will have an affect. The more muscle you have, the stronger you are. The more fit you are the better your body can perform in sports activities.
3) Flexibility: The more flexible you are, the longer the stride and greater the extension on your toe flick. The more your hips open and close, the better your stride angle, also needed for more advanced skating skills and a better backwards stride.
4) Foot speed: Quick twitch muscles, i.e. sprinter muscles, relate to foot speed. You need to work on speed-related drills on-ice and off-ice to enhance quick twitch muscle activity.
5) Mental Game: This is the most important part! If you don’t really want to go fast or think you’re fast already, or scared of the puck or corners, you won’t go faster. Wanting to go faster is the most important starting place.
Training elite athletes should be done with a plan. Long term development (LTD) is based on the concept of working on foundational skills first, like skating. First, you need to master some of those foundational skills, before adding to and building upon that solid foundation. In Canadian hockey, the end for most players comes between 14-17 years old when kids can’t find or make teams anymore. This happens because players work more on playing the game or using their early size advantage and don’t spend enough time on foundation (the basics). Without that foundation, continued growth becomes impossible. If you don’t keep getting better, you will not keep achieving higher and higher levels of hockey.
The LTD method involves technique first, fitness and flexibility next, increased muscle and foot speed next, and finally the mental game. People reach the highest level in any sport because of their desire, dedication, and hard work. It is essential for a player to WANT to keep improving. A by-product of constant improvement is success! LTD goal setting and time lines can be different for each player, but it is essential that a plan is in place.
A great plan involves all of these key ingredients:
– A dedicated player
– A great head coach
– A supportive family
– The plan (which can keep evolving)
This can bring success beyond your wildest dreams!