The forward stride is the most used movement in hockey, however many players neglect to try to improve it. Many players think that once they can skate and move forwards they are fine, however even PRO hockey players continue to work on their forward stride throughout their entire career!
The forward stride is the most used movement in skating, which means it should be the one you focus on the most. What can you do to improve your stride? Here are some areas that you might be able to improve
- Better balance
- Faster acceleration
- Quicker steps (faster stride rate)
- Better use of the edges
- Better recovery after the stride
- More knee bend (for more power)
- Better glide
- Improved arm movement
Forward Stride Fundamentals and Tips
The key to a good forward stride
The forward stride consists of a push, glide and recovery. In order to have a smooth stride you should have good knee bend, a good push using your edges, good balance glide and knee bend in your glide leg and a fast recovery.
The key to speed is stride length and stride frequency. This is true when skating in a straight line, which happens with the forward stride. Once you get into higher level hockey we also want speed in lateral movement, crossover speed, pivots, agility, etc.
Common Mistakes with the Forward Stride
- Stilt Skating
- You know those guys who walk around on stilts at the circus? Some hockey players look like that on the ice. If you want better balance, agility and power, and a longer stride BEND YOUR KNEES!
- Rail Road skating
- This is when the player skates with their feet very wide apart and just barely pushes with each foot. The stride length is very small, the skates are both only using the inside edges, and there is very little balance or glide in the glide leg.
- Heel kicks
- You want your recovery to be efficient and quick. Many players skate like they run and kick their heels up before planting their foot again for another stride. This wastes time and energy. Your recovery should be almost straight back and under your hip for another push.
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