Why NHL players are now using linear crossovers to pick up speed


Greg Revak

Greg Revak is a Certified Level 4 USA Hockey Coach. Greg coaches with the University of Akron and University School (Ohio). You can find him on Twitter @CoachRevak. or sign up for his Hockey IQ Newsletter.
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Crossovers have become the source of an innovative and dynamic emergence.

Every person who has spent any reasonable amount of time in hockey is familiar with a crossover. It’s when a player steps (read: crosses) over their feet to make a change of direction. They are as old as dust.

In the past several years, though, crossovers have become the source of an innovative and dynamic emergence. To increase speed, change attack angles, and create separation, crossovers are being used in abundance at the NHL level not just in turns, but even in relatively straight lines.

Linear crossover

Linear = arranged in or extending along a straight or nearly straight line.

So unlike a traditional crossover that goes around in a circle (who doesn’t remember skating “Russian Circles”?), the linear crossover is used in more generally straight lines. Players are crossing their feet to accelerate, as opposed to relying on strides.

Here is a prime example from Nathan Mackinnon going from a standstill to full speed:

Mackinnon employs crossovers to get his initial burst, but then also again at top speed to maintain and build even more speed (super top speed?!).

The ratio

World-renowned skills coach Darryl Belfry did a study comparing the crossover to stride ratio:

  • Top 25 NHL players crossover once every four strides
  • Average third- or fourth-line NHL players crossover once every 12 to 14 strides

Crossovers have become the source of an innovative and dynamic emergence . . .



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