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.
- See also:
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:
Nathan Mackinnon is the definition of a new aged skater
It’s all in the crossovers = 9 crossovers to 2 forward strides
Constantly changes angles and efficiently picks up and maintains speed pic.twitter.com/0TRVI8zNx0
— Greg Revak, CFP® (@CoachRevak) July 30, 2020
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?!).
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