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The Load, the Push, the Extension

04/20/2020, 11:00am CDT
By Andy Ness

Rollerblading is a great way to work on your stride

Find a good stretch of road that is smooth and you can get a good leg burn if you stay in a deep knee bend.

So we are at home and can't get on the ice.  I just put on my rollerblades and decided to try to keep in some sort of skating shape.  The one good thing with rollerblades is you can continue to work on your stride as well as staying low in a deep skating position.  The nice thing is if you can find a long stretch of road that is smooth.  You can really get a good leg burn if you stay in a deep knee bend position.  Remember to take your time and just work on technique as well as the 3 main components of a stride.  

The loading phase comes from loading all of your power with a bent knee on one leg.  Similar to a one-legged squat jump or using a Russian box, power must be stored on the leg that is ready to push.  The more power loaded, the more power that will be transferred to the push.  In the first photo of Anders Lee you will notice how all of his power is loaded onto one leg.  His power is ready to provide downward force into the ice.  The key is to make sure your legs/skates are underneath you so you can generate power.

After loading, the skater will then grip and push on an edge outwards remembering that downward force creates speed.  This means that the more the skater pushes against the ice the more powerful the stride will be.  Notice how in the second picture Ryan McDonagh's push goes out to the side forcing the body to travel forward.  This is sometimes commonly misunderstood because it looks like the skate is being pushed back but is actually being pushed out.  The skate will naturally go back on its own right before the return.  Another common mistake on the push is not fully extending the leg all the way out.  Some skaters cheat themselves out of being more efficient by picking the skate up too soon or getting a high leg-kick.  

The last component is the extension.  Keeping your skate on the ice throughout the entire push will help make sure you get to full extension.  In the 3rd photo you will be notice how the skater is not cheating himself by cutting his extension short.  The extension is key and is much like a follow through on a golf swing or a follow through when throwing a ball.  It is the key to finishing this skill and finishing your stride. 

The technique can be improved on the ice but the power and strength of each push can definitely be strengthened off ice.  Plyos and strength training are great ways to improve power which in-turn will help in having a more explosive, complete stride.  Good Luck and keep working

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Tag(s): State Of Hockey  News  LPH Senior Goalie  Andy Ness