If you want to maximize your speed, you need to have a long, powerful forward stride. This video breaks it down.
It is a good idea to video your stride from the front, back and side to see where you can improve your stride.
- Knee bend should be roughly 90 degrees. In the photo below, the player is a little bit lower, which is good. If you want to get long strides, you have to get this knee bend.
- Full straight leg extension. At the end of your stride, your leg should be fully extended and there should be a straight line from your head, though your back, right to your toe.
- Full leg return. At the start of each stride, your feet should be together (about an inch apart). This allows you to get the full push on each stride.
A good way to practice the full return is to make your heels touch at the start of each stride.
- Toe should FLICK to be pointed to the side at the end of the stride. This is the last part of the push and it also one of the most powerful parts of the push. At the end of each push, when your leg is fully extended, your toe should flick to the SIDE as shown below. A common mistake is to have the toe pointing DOWN at the end of the stride in a running motion (shown in RED). If you do this, you are slipping on each stride by not keeping the inside edge on the ice and are thus not able to start the return with full power.
- Arm swing should be through the full range of motion. A full range of motion in the arm swing encourages your feet to move automatically. It helps to create and maintain momentum. The arm swing should be in a forward and backward motion and should never cross the centre line of your body. A side to side arm swing will put you off balance.
Drag Touch Drill
This is a great drill to practice all the elements of the forward stride. (See the clip at the very end of the video above)
- Start out with an incredibly deep knee bend. This is just a way to practice and remind us to get a good knee bend before the drill starts.
- At the end of each stride, after you’ve flicked your toe to the side, drag the inside edge of the toe back until it touches your heel.