Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Improving My Push Off for Stroking with Power

I found an easy technique that improved my power in my stroking, with my push off. I mean conceptually easy; It took me some time to put everything together, to actually have an effect.

I do alternating T-stops with two strokes in between stops.

Bear with me.

I have stiff hips, so to build up the flexibility and strength in them, I started doing T-stops around the rink as part of my warm up.

I started out with several strokes between stops. Then as the weeks passed, the strength and flexibility in my hips got better. I decided to do two stroke between T-stops.

Let me explain the procedure:

I do the initial push off to the skating foot with my right foot. My skating foot is the left foot. I glide on the left foot, stroke to the right skating foot, bring my left foot to the T-stop position and do a complete hard stop onto the back edge.
Without raising my left foot (the one now at the back of the right skating foot), I push onto the right foot and glide, then stroke on to the left foot. I now do a T-stop with the right foot.

See what I did there? Stroke. Stop. Stroke.Stroke. Stop with opposite foot.

Okay, easy peasy. What's the trick?

The trick is, I do the push off from the T-stop direct from the stopped position on the outside edge without any fiddling by adjusting the blade. I stop. I push onto the new skating foot from the stopped position.

The first few weeks it was hard to gather my legs, with the right knee bend  and upper body position so I didn't have to move my feet around or give a preliminary stroke. I nearly fell on my face a couple of times before I got the knee bend and push coordinated. But after doing this for a few weeks I could do the alternating stops fast and hard, and push off from the stopped position easily.

Then last night at Rink #2 group, I realized I had a lot more power as I was just stroking aroud. I wasn't pushing from my inside edge anymore. I was pushing not exactly from the outside edge, it was more like I was stopped on the outside edge, then sharply rolling onto the inside edge for the push.  I can't emphasize enough, that the description may over state the roll from the back edge. It's not exaggerated, it just happens.  It works for me.

I've read about pushing from the back edge in a figures book, or maybe a coach told me. I don't know if this kind of push has a name, or if it's part of figures or freeskate. If I can find an older skater, maybe I should ask.


  1. Very cool! I've actually been practicing my own T stops exactly like that (stroke stroke stop, stroke stroke stop), but next to the wall and very slowly, because I'm not very good at them yet. Nice to know I'm not the only one, and that this exercise will have further benefits as I improve!

  2. I almost never T stop with my left foot behind, so this would actually improve that, as well. Win Win.

    1. That's why I started this exercise, but it appeared to be useful in other ways.