Speed training drills are often times not incorporated into hockey practices. There will always be skating drills, but speed is often something simply attributed to nature. The thinking goes that any player who isn’t naturally fast, probably won’t ever be. This is completely wrong. Like anything in sport and fitness, speed can be improved through proper training and practice. Here are some tips to help in that improvement.
Firstly, form is of great importance to speed, and a lot of players don’t skate at their maximum speed purely because of bad form. If form has been identified as a problem, it’s time to hit the power skating classes. No one is too old for power skating if their stride is in need of some tweaking. The simple corrections to minor imperfections in a player’s stride can have huge impacts.
Secondly, watch how the pros do it. In the NHL skills competition, the fastest skater competition tends to feature some of the same faces each year. One thing you’ll notice if you watch them is they all have a similar strategy. They’ll start off with very short, powerful strides to get them up to speed as fast as possible, but once they’ve reached speed, they stop taking the short, bursting strides, and transfer into longer, smoother ones. This is something many players ignore, instead opting to keep their feet moving as fast as possible, as if they were running on the ice. This is a mistake. Start your strides short, get up to speed, and then maintain the speed by smoothing and lengthening your stride.