Chapter #3 - Skating and Rink Conditioning

Here's a summary of this chapter....

Skating is the most important fundamental to learn since skating is what players do most! During an average roller hockey game, a player can skate upwards of two miles. This is one reason why developing and perfecting the skating technique is so important. Skating is the foundation on which everything else is built. Proficient skating will make any player better capable of performing any of the other roller hockey skills presented in this book. A roller hockey player whose skating is technically sound will skate fast, be hard to move off the puck, tire less rapidly, and be able to learn many skating moves without great difficulty. The player whose skating has even one technical imperfection can be seriously handicapped. One reason that many good roller hockey players may never make it to the professional level is that, although they skate a lot, much of it is done haphazardly. Little attention is given to the development of correct technique. Effective skating can only be achieved by working hard at skating drills that are specifically designed to develop and improve posture, balance, movement, speed, endurance, and, ultimately, confidence.

Posture is important in any form of athletics and, in roller hockey, refers to the general body position of the skater. When the skater moves forward, he should keep his knees slightly bent and his upper body a little ahead of his hips. This gives him maximum forward drive. This forward body lean should not be overemphasized because balance and maneuverability will be compromised. Players who skate with their body upright not only lose forward drive but also appear to run on their skates due to high skate lift. Experiment until you coordinate the factors that give you the maximum speed together with a feeling of balance and comfort. Any player can develop top level skating efficiency, provided he or she works hard and applies the correct methods. Intelligent roller hockey players and coaches continually try to improve skating, and regularly check style and technique to enhance good habits and eliminate bad ones.

Body type contributes to different abilities. Some players have the type of muscles that generate speed. Others have muscles that cannot move quite as fast, but move at a good rate of speed for longer periods of time. The slower, endurance players will have to work harder at quickness. However, quicker players tend to tire easier or work effectively only in spurts. This is why a team which was out-skated in the first period can turn around and out-skate the opposition during the last period. By paying close attention to your skating technique, you can work on specific techniques to improve your speed, endurance, and overall conditioning. Since speed is about twenty-five percent mental, the player who consciously drives himself past the natural tendency to take things easy will skate faster than a player who makes no such conscious attempt. Extra drive or desire comes from confidence in your ability to push the skating envelope.

Contact Greg Siller @ Pro Learning Systems