Stride Width: a key factor for speed in skating

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

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.  [email protected]

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