Hey, welcome back. In this post I’m going to give you three techniques you can use right now that are going to instantly get you skating faster on the ice.
Check out the entire video and more on YouTube here >> https://youtu.be/0hUKN5JNbhw
So I think it’s something that, as goalies we ignore a lot. We think a lot about our agility and our movement in the crease, but we don’t think that much about just our full-out skating speed.
And it’s something that’s important, especially even at training camps, trials, if you want to stand out on the ice, beat some of the forwards in the defense and the skating drills, and you’re going to have the coaches on the sideline turning to each other, and they’re going to automatically say, “Oh man, that guy’s in great shape.”
So that’s what we’re going to dive into today. Let’s get at it.
Years and years ago, when I trained Andy McDonald, when he was winning the fastest skater competition at the All-Star Game, he really embodied these three things. And it was mobility, power, and balance. So that’s what we’re going to look at today.
Number one, mobility.
You have to be able to move, and for max skating speed, it’s really opening up your hips so that you can take a full stride. It makes your skating more efficient, it takes away the wear and tear in the extension on your back, so that’s ingredient number one.
Power means, you need to be able to apply your force very, very quickly. So it’s like if I was going to shot put, I could put the same amount of force, you know, it requires the same amount of force to take, you know, if I have a 15 pound shot put, it takes the same amount of force for it to go from here to here slowly. Or, I can put more speed into it, and then you can see it’s going to go further.
So really the whole difference of power is how fast you apply your force.
And then balance, if you have a little speed wobble, or your alignment’s a bit off, or your torso’s not stable over your hip, knee and ankle, that’s an energy leak in the system.
So then, energy from your muscles is just going into trying to correct or counterbalance you so you can propel yourself forward.
So we’ve got three exercises that we’re going to go over today to help address each of those areas.
I got Carson in the gym with me for these exercises. He’s one of the goalies I’ve trained here forever and ever. He played last season with the Georgetown Raiders and just got home, so I’m kind of excited to see him, but he’s going to help us go through some of these drills.
So, the first thing we talked about was mobility and opening up that hip, and really, a lot of the issue is just, we’re sitting so much that those hip flexors get really tight. And in particular, we’re looking at the hip flexor that crosses our hip and our knee, so you have to kind of stretch it in a special way.
So instead of just doing the normal position that you’d think of for a hip flexor stretch, what we’re going to do is bring our toe up on the wall so that we’re flexing at the knee, and then extending at the hip, and that’s what gives us a really good stretch into the front of the thigh.
The things we want to look for in this one is, to make sure that we’re keeping your ribs down a little bit, that we’re not extending in the back, because when the hip flexor muscle is overly tight and we stretch it, it’s going to pull the pelvis forward, so we’ve got to keep our ribs down so that doesn’t happen.
Sometimes this can be a really big stretch for people.
What we could even do is, two ways we could make it a little less of a really strong stretch. We could have you just bend, come forward a little bit at your torso, just till you find like, “okay, now that feels like a good but comfortable stretch”.
Or, we could have you just move your knee forward on the pad so your foot isn’t quite so high up on the wall. And then, that feels like a little bit better stretch too, doesn’t it?
So we’re going to hold this for about 30 seconds. We’re going to do that on each side. And what that’s going to deliver is just this ability that when you’re taking a full stride, when you’re just full skating, that you can get that hip extension rather than getting stuck here and then maybe having to use your low back.
So we talked a bit about power, and this is a nice foundational power exercise, so it’s a lunge lateral to a balance.
So if I do a lunge lateral, I step out to the side, and then I drive up hard and I try to find that transitional balance that kind of feeds into part number three. The big key points here when we do it, is we want to have that shoulder, hip, knee and ankle all stacked.
We don’t want to be way out to the side because it’s kind of hard to generate power when my foot isn’t underneath me. We don’t want to have our hips outside, because again, then we’re off balance. So we want to find that stack and then drive all the way up and find our perfect point of balance.
So when we’re doing this, you want your shoulder, hip, knee, ankle, nice and stacked. If your stance is too narrow, your hips are going to be outside and you’re going to be kind of twisted.
If your stance is too wide, which is the common mistake, then you can see your hips are nowhere near over your ankle.
So your one knee is extended, and the other sides shoulder, hip, knee, ankle stacked. Now you’re going to drive from your hip all the way up to find that perfect point of balance. Then you’ll come back out into his lunge. Drive up again, finding that balance.
You’re going to stick there for two to three seconds, deliberately sticking there. A big, big push up. And stop.
Now we can make this a little bit more challenging after you get the feel of the technique, and that’s where you should start. But we can make it harder by adding dumbbells, we can do it in a landmine, we can do it with a barbell.
I’m going to talk to you about the dumbbell and the landmine variation.
So when we use the dumbbells, my preferred position is sort of holding them right at the shoulder. It’s okay if they rest on the shoulders, but your shoulders are going to get tired. We only do this early in the season, almost to keep you from using weights that are too heavy.
You can see that adding dumbbells makes the balance a little more tricky. As you guys get into heavier weights, you can also bring them right down at your sides, and as you step out to the side, one dumbbell comes inside between your legs, and one stays on the outside of your bent knee.
So we can also use the landmine to do this drill. And you don’t really need an attachment for the landmine, we just have it sitting on the turf. You’re going to hold it about six to eight inches out from the front of your chest, but the technique’s going to be exactly the same. So stepping out, getting that shoulder, hip, knee, ankle stack, nice big push up, and finding that perfect point of balance.
That’s a nice drill. And we can really grade it and give you a chance too, to work on finding that perfect point of balance, it’s a lot harder than it seems.
You can also just get a nice big explosive push off that outside leg, and we can easily overload it with as much or as little as we want.
So that’s element two, building power, and I kind of snuck in that transitional balance, which leads into element number three, balance.
Again, we can’t be off balance and be explosive at the same time. We need to be able to hit a good balance on our skates so that we’re gliding, we’re not creating friction with our blade and the ice, we’re just removing any resistance from the system, so that all our energy, all our muscle effort is going into propelling us down the ice.
So what we’re going to work on now is just a nice lateral hop and stick.
Getting low in the leg is another key element for this drill. Sometimes you see kids, every kid, when they get tired they bend forward at their hips, they don’t get low in their legs because they don’t even realize they’re doing it.
We’re going to practice loading our legs, getting nice and low on one leg, and then a lateral hop across to the other leg. Finding that perfect point of balance, staying nice and low, and getting that drive again.
You’ll start easy. The key element with this one, and even though we’ve sort of snuck power in it as well, is sticking that balance. So it doesn’t matter, you might hop from edge to edge and have terrible balance, that’s not the point. The point is generating the power, and then absorbing it, sticking it, being balanced, being ready for your next drive.
So we’re just going to be on your left leg, nice knee bend. Don’t do it too big. Just a nice little lateral hop, and then you’re going to stick it.
Things you’ll want to look for here are good balance, hip, knee and ankle, all in a line, and a good neutral back position. You have to be ready to go before you hop back staying on one leg at all times.
Stay strong in your torso. No, load back the other way, just push in the direction you’re going. Stay low, stick it.
Let’s break it down. Let’s look at, what are the little intricacies there. You’ll probably notice a bit, when you go to drive, there’s a little shift in the opposite direction that you’re going to move. That’s why we want to keep a nice strong torso so that everything goes the direction you’re moving.
We don’t want to have any of our muscular energy going in the direction we don’t want to go.
Staying low, so when you get to that position, are you creeping up or are you staying in that good knee bend position so that you’re ready to drive, you’re ready and you’re reactive.
This even translates to just, your ready position on the ice.
You don’t want to slowly get standing up in your legs and bending forward at your hips. You don’t want to just get standing up more and more, because we have no power from this position. So if our knees aren’t good and bent and I need to drive explosively, I don’t have much power at my disposal.
Whereas, if I’m low, and I’m in my crease and I need to drive, you know I’ve got a lot more power.
So when you do these drills, think of them as skills that you’re practicing. It’s not just, “Oh, okay, I’m going to hop and balance, whatever.”
It should be, “I’m going to clean up my movement pattern. I’m going to execute it with precision, with perfection. I’m going to have that stack. I’m going to keep my knee bent. I’m going to be strong in my torso so that I’m not losing any energy when I move laterally, and I’m going to find that perfect point of balance.”
And then, you can take these things and think about them when you’re on the ice as well.
And there will come a time when you can overload them. We showed you a way you could overload the lunge lateral to balance. We use the dumbbells, we showed you the landmine. We do the lateral hop.
A lot of you see NHL goalies doing lateral movements on the ice with a medicine ball. We can do that off the ice as well, but don’t you dare even think of adding overload until you can do a full explosive lateral hop and stick with perfect balance as far as you can go each direction.
And when you can do six reps in a row, pushing as hard as you can, sticking that balance for at least three seconds, then you’re probably ready to add a little bit of overload.
And that’ll be kind of a topic for another day, but I just, again, a lot of times it’s like we don’t want to work on the basic, we want to just, “Oh, this looks really cool. I’m going to use a medicine ball.” And what you’re doing is teaching yourself bad habits that are going to make you actually a little bit slower on the ice.
Now, if you are only going to do one of these, I would definitely do the mobility drill, because if you can’t move, if you can’t sort of extend at your hip without extending at your back, you’re not going to be able to maximize your stride. You can’t put in the power over the full stride.
So if you’re only going to do one, I would start with the hip flexor foot on the wall.
And really, it makes sense, because if you can’t move, you can’t be a goalie anyway. So if you’re not really sure at all what to do other than, “Okay, I’m going to do hip flexor foot it on the wall.” There are more goalie specific stretches that you should be doing.
I put together a 14-day program, it’s called the butterfly challenge, and it’s free, and that would be the place to start. I’m going to put the link to it below in this post, you can go there, and click on it, and download it for free, and start working on that. It’ll give me a wider butterfly flair, it’s a good program.
Then, other than that, if you have any questions about this, make sure you leave it in the comments below.
I will catch you in the next video. See you.