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The Basics of Speed Skating
An introduction to good speed skating techniques plus tips
for practicing and perfecting those techniques.
These tips came from a a long-time indoor and outdoor speed skating coach.
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Get Low. The lower, the better. Try for a 90 degree knee bend. Over longer
distances, you won't be able to maintain this, but bend 'em as much as you
Keep your weight centered and off of your toes. Push through the center
of the frames. As an exercise, think about pushing through the heels at the
end of the stroke. Make your heel-wheel the last wheel to leave the
pavement at the end of the stroke.
Push to the side, not to the back. Push as laterally as you can. Your foot
will go to the back a little bit, but if you think "push straight to the side" you'll
end up with a more efficient push.
Transfer your weight completely to the new support skate. Don't just
toddle back and forth from skate to skate; instead really fall onto the support
leg. Make a total commitment of your body weight as you fall and push
simultaneously. You should be able to fall on that support leg and then glide
on one skate for a while. If you immediately tip back on to the other skate,
then you weren't committed. You hedged your bets and didn't get as much
push as you could have.
It's also good to have a nice, relaxed recovery stroke. For this, imagine the
McDonald's golden arches behind you on the pavement. Push to the side,
then trace an arch behind you with your toe wheel. Your frames should be
almost vertical with respect to the ground as you recover. Then, at the end,
drive your recovering knee forward so your recoveraing skate is slightly
ahead of your pushing skate. Don't just set it down. Instead sweep it to the
side and fall on to it as in 4) above. This gives you a good, hard conventional
Cross-overs are pretty important. Try to push as radially (laterally) as you can
with the foot on the inside of the turn. Lean in to the turn.
Next you can learn the double push!
Eddy Matzger does great camps on this!
Another great resource is Barry Publow's book,
Speed on Skates.
classic is ice speedskater Dianne Holum's out
of print and hard (but not impossible) to find book,
The Complete Handbook of Speed Skating.
Indoor Speed Skating 101
Speed Skating for Beginners
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