What do you need to achieve very quick starts on the ice?
Technique to a very explosive start; the skater must “run” the first few strides on the toes, using the front part of the inside edge of the skates. Imagine running on hot coal; your skates should not touch the ice for long at all. They should only very briefly touch the ice and they do not glide; it’s a quick “running” motion on the inside edge (the front of the skate blade “toe”) for around 3-4 quick strides then normal strides follow. If the entire blade length contacts the ice, the skate will be forced to glide. Gliding takes time and this will delay the next stride.
The beginning stance is to have your heels together and point your knees and toes towards the side, making a V shape. The power from the toe start comes from driving your leg fully into the ice but only using the inside edge around the front of the blade (toe) to push off the ice. Skaters need to throw their weight in the direction they wish to travel as they push off their toe, remembering to recover their leg fully and properly as they begin to drive the other leg into the ice. Strong pushes, good weight transfer with the proper use of the inside toe edge, are some of the ingredients for a great toe start.
To get great distance, skaters must push their body weight towards the direction they want to travel in. The farther forward the body is projected (by throwing your weight forward), the farther forward the striding skate must come to be recovered and placed under your centre of gravity (the mid-section of your body or directly under the centre of your body). This will result in a farther distance covered, allowing you to maintain balance, power and technique.
Three basic starts are used in hockey skating: forward (front), crossover (side), and backward. As in every aspect of skating, the ingredients for explosive starts include:
• Proper use of edges to provide “grip” (or hold) into the ice,
• Proper distribution of body weight,
• Great use of power or leg drive
• Rapid and powerful leg motion
By learning these points, skaters will be able to perform explosive (or quick) starts.
*Tip with puck*
Players must keep the puck well out ahead of them in order to accelerate quickly with the puck. If the puck is too close to the body, it blocks the player’s progress. The general rule for accelerating with the puck is that the puck goes first and the player follows it.