Stride Width: a key factor for speed in skating

Developing muscle memory to produce a smooth, coordinated movement pattern for efficient skating is key.
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There are several important skating characteristics of fast hockey players. One of the most important is the width of the stride.  This means a wide stride, not a long stride. The reason stride width is important for speed in hockey skating is because a fast player needs to quickly get his or her skate back on the ice (after pushing off) to start the next push-off.

Stride Width Research and Observation of Fast Players

Pierre Page was the first person/researcher to find that fast hockey players have a wide stride. Page compared fast to slow hockey players and found the faster players had the following to indicate they had a wider stride:

  • a wider left stride
  • a wider right stride
  • greater width between strides
  • greater hip abduction angle (hip abduction is when the leg is pushing to the side)

You can read about Page’s research in a pervious article, Investigation: Biomechanical differences between Fast and Slow skaters.

Wayne Marino (University of Windsor) found that velocity in hockey skating is dependent on the number of strides taken over a certain distance. He also found the faster a hockey player skated, the quicker they got the skate back on the ice after push-off. This means fast hockey skaters have quick, wide strides, and get their skate on the ice quickly after push-off.

Developing muscle memory to produce a smooth, coordinated movement pattern for efficient skating is key . . .

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Mike Bracko

Mike Bracko is a skating coach, skating researcher, strength & conditioning coach, and fitness educator. He holds a Doctorate degree in Exercise Science and Biomechanics and is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Coach through the NSCA. He played hockey in the AJHL, BCHL and NCAA (University of Illinois-Chicago). He does skating clinics with 300–400 hockey players every year specializing in 1-on-1, small group, and team skating with male and female players ranging in age from 8 years old to pro players.  He is also the strength & conditioning coach for the USA Men’s Deaflympic hockey team. www.hockeyinstitute.org  [email protected]

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