One of the more consistent findings in determining what differentiates elite and sub-elite skaters is that elite skaters adopt a lower skating position.
This study from Upjohn et al (2008) found that high caliber skaters had a deeper skating position, which translated into longer/wider strides with more extension range of motion through the knee/ankle.
Ultimately, this allowed the players to skate faster, despite using the same stride rate.
Training to improve mobility or stability is typically referenced as a strategy to minimize injury risk. This study, along with several others, provides a rationale for including mobility/stability work to enhance skating performance.
Improving the ability to adopt and control deeper single-leg positions should be a foundational training goal in any speed training program for hockey.
To your success,
P.S. If you’re interested in learning more, check out my new book Speed Training for Hockey.
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Kevin has rapidly established himself as a leader in the field of physical preparation and sports science for ice hockey. He is currently the Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins, where he oversees all aspects of designing and implementing the team’s performance training program, as well as monitoring the players’ performance, workload and recovery. Prior to Boston, Kevin spent 2 years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks after serving as the Director of Performance at Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, NJ. He also spent 5 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with USA Hockey’s Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and has been an invited speaker at conferences hosted by the NHL, NSCA, and USA Hockey.