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Author Topic: Skating Fast? - fsf  (Read 2559 times)

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Offline JimStanmore

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Skating Fast? - fsf
« on: September 02, 2010, 10:32:12 PM »
Skittl1321
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Post Title: Skating Fast?
Posted: 01-25-2007, 10:14 AM

 How do you learn to skate fast? After I do my crossovers at the beginning of my lesson my coach makes me hold his hands and keep up with him. And it scares me, really really scares me! Especially backwards But the thing is, I keep up- so I know I can skate that fast. I know I need to work on stamina because I am completely out of breath after 2 minutes of the super fast crossovers on a figure 8. But how do I work on being able to do it without holding on? Without the support, I'm terrified to go more than a snails pace. I still click my blades quite regularly going backwards, and slip off my edge going forward- and that's going slow. But I don't want to be a snail. I want to be a good skater. I want to be able to pass tests that show I have "power".

I know fear is a good part of the problem. I am scared of hurting myself, but maybe even more than that, because I skate on public sessions, I'm scared of hurting someone else. But I don't think I'm good enough to be on freestyle yet. We don't have any senior level skaters, and freestyles aren't crowded- but the one I skated on, it felt as though I shouldn't be there yet.

Any tips? 

Rusty Blades
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Posted: 01-25-2007, 10:27 AM

 First of all, falls when you are going fast hurt A LOT LESS than when you are going slow - I KNOW that for a fact!

Being fast is 50% technique (the RIGHT technique) and 50% strength - both of those you build with practice. I am a novice and am way faster than I have any right to be - it's about the right push and having the leg strength to put power behind it.

Yes, backwards can be scary - most all of my falls these days are going off the back of the blade while skating backwards so I wear a butt pad (that doesn't even show) and always remember to bring your chin to your chest QUICK when you loose it going backwards. 

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Posted: 01-25-2007, 11:25 AM

 Think power and not speed. Focus on making each push (each stroke is a push) in the crossover count. Once you have this, speed will follow. 

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Posted: 01-25-2007, 11:31 AM

 And don't forget to finish off your edges. Properly done, you can get a lot of speed from edges, and it's somehow a lot less scary than getting speed from pushes (don't ask me why, my coach and my husband think I'm silly!). 

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Posted: 01-25-2007, 11:31 AM

 Use deep edges.....Listen for the rip in the ice. If you have a good edge...that creates a powerful "push" and the more speed you will gain. 

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Posted: 01-25-2007, 11:39 AM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by flo 
Think power and not speed. Focus on making each push (each stroke is a push) in the crossover count. Once you have this, speed will follow.
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicSkateFan 
Use deep edges.....Listen for the rip in the ice. If you have a good edge...that creates a powerful "push" and the more speed you will gain.
 
 
AMEN, dont be too scared, we all fall on them when the least we expect it. 

sunjoy
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Posted: 01-25-2007, 12:22 PM

 I think you might gain a lot from working on two very important pre-requisites: practice falling, and practice your stops.

Practice falling to get over your fear, and also to learn how to "give-in" to the fall and sit yourself down on the ice rather than fighting it, stiffening up, and completely going heels-over-head. If you watch Nationals tonight or this weekend, you're likely to see a few falls from skaters who went full-speed into a jump. Notice that they barely loose a beat, and bounce right back up with a smile. Yes, they are in competition, but it's a nice habit that I try to emulate myself in practice. Falling isn't a mistake -- it's learning. It's not scary [most of the time] -- it's fun. It's not embarassing -- laugh, smile, enjoy it.

Practice to get a good hockey-stop. Start with one-foot snow-plows, which are really good for slowing down for traffic. It will take a while to get fluid, sharp hockey-stops. Probably harder than back-crossovers, and unfortunately, the falls you will take while learing them can be quite hard (you catch the wrong edge).

Once you don't care about falling, and once you can stop hard at will, I think you'll be able to effect the speed that you already seem to have but are afraid to use. *THEN*, you can start spending a lifetime finessing your technique to really milk speed out of the ice!

I found a nice blog the other day by a figure-skater who's now coached by a hockey coach, and who's really working on power-skating. Might be helpful to you. http://mygorramden.typepad.com/my_go...ing/index.html 

Team Arthritis
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Posted: 01-25-2007, 12:32 PM

 GO JESSI!
be afraid- that's how you know you are pushing it.
forget form - just skate fast, work form going slow. Doing it right is just an excuse for not going fast.
wear your pads- they are your armor and make you brave
warm up first- going fast on warmup you are more likely to fall, get your legs under you as this is something you are trying to work on.

now all I have to do is take my own advice
Lyle 

flo
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Posted: 01-25-2007, 01:02 PM

 "Forget form: Doing it right is just an excuse for not going fast"

Hmm Lyle, not sure I agree with this one! By all means keep trying to improve, and "go for it". But if you can't control your speed, take care for yourself as well as others around you. If you are interested in progressing in skating, learning to do basic stroking the correct way is the building block of everything. Also this is why so many coaches spend all that time on crossovers and getting them "right", and why at whatever level you are, the first thing a new coach (or any judge for that matter) looks at is your crossovers. My first coach told me that the quality of the crossovers and basic stroking is what seperates the skaters from the "Sunday" skaters.

If form, control and progressing are something you are not interested in, then the fs sessions would probably not be the best place to practice. 

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Posted: 01-25-2007, 01:09 PM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty Blades 
First of all, falls when you are going fast hurt A LOT LESS than when you are going slow - I KNOW that for a fact!
 
 
That's good to know!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunjoy 
I think you might gain a lot from working on two very important pre-requisites: practice falling, and practice your stops.

Practice falling to get over your fear, and also to learn how to "give-in" to the fall and sit yourself down on the ice rather than fighting it, stiffening up, and completely going heels-over-head. Falling isn't a mistake -- it's learning. It's not scary [most of the time] -- it's fun. It's not embarassing -- laugh, smile, enjoy it.
 
 
I think you are right on both accounts. I had great stops on my rec skates, but weak ones in my figure skates. I need to relearn them.

I think part of my issue with falling is when I did the basics, I never fell. I think I can count the falls of my first 8 months of skating on one hand, and the past 2 months on the other. So now that I'm advancing I'm scared to let myself fall because I didn't do it then. However, I am falling more than I was before- and I don't mind the bumps, bruises and soreness, I'm just scared of the "bad one"- I've already done the horrible injury thing, and don't want to again. I'm not embarassed to fall- I just need to get used to it, and don't really want to get used to it while flying through backwards crossovers. But maybe Rusty Blades is right- it won't be as bad going fast? Not to mention, now that I help teach tots, I'm spending a lot of time going over the right way to fall. So i'll get it stuck in my head.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Team Arthritis 
GO JESSI!
warm up first- going fast on warmup you are more likely to fall, get your legs under you as this is something you are trying to work on.

now all I have to do is take my own advice [img]
Lyle
 
 
Lyle- I think you are right about the warm up. Crossovers are part of my warmup routine, and that's why it's so difficult. I need to put them back in at the end too. Oh- and I think it was your post about "keeping up" from awhile back that i thought about while I was skating so fast I thought I was driving down a freeway. I'm sure the look on my face was priceless. 

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Posted: 01-25-2007, 01:21 PM

 A good way to warm up knee action quickly on the ice is to do a couple passes of really quick 2-foot slaloms concentrating on a combination of both knee bend and quickness. Try to keep the knees between a light bend and a medium bend on the knee action, and keep a fast tempo on the actual edge changes. 

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Posted: 01-25-2007, 02:00 PM

 Join a synchro team

I never practise crossovers until I've skated a lap or two and warmed up my basic edges, maybe some swing rolls or cross rolls, too. Then I work on the crossovers using the forward and backward power circles (Adult Gold MITF test). I don't concentrate on form, but on rhythm and speed. Then, once I'm warmed up, I work on form going more slowly and concentrating on the edges. I also work on crossovers every time I'm out there.

And, as often happens on the satruday AM freestyle, there is a lull before group lessons start and I take the center circle and fo ALL OUT, balls to the walls, especially backwards. There's only one ot two other skaters on the ice and I can really hear the rip that way. A couple of weeks ago, I was skating fast enough that I went from dead center on the ice to out past the circle in six crossovers. Whee!!! Of course, no one was there to se it 

Team Arthritis
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Posted: 01-25-2007, 02:03 PM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by jenlyon60 
A good way to warm up knee action quickly on the ice is to do a couple passes of really quick 2-foot slaloms concentrating on a combination of both knee bend and quickness. Try to keep the knees between a light bend and a medium bend on the knee action, and keep a fast tempo on the actual edge changes.
 
 
These are great but I'm having trouble graduating to the next step: 2footed bracket - back 3's -bracket etc. I can do them but lose power on each step so I have to scull between each one to get back some speed. Any ideas on how to get push on these while keeping the feet together??? I can't figure out why these are so much harder than the slaloms, arrrggghhhhh
Lyle 

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Posted: 01-25-2007, 02:05 PM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by flo 
"Forget form: Doing it right is just an excuse for not going fast"

Hmm Lyle, not sure I agree with this one! By all means keep trying to improve, and "go for it". But if you can't control your speed, take care for yourself as well as others around you. If you are interested in progressing in skating, learning to do basic stroking the correct way is the building block of everything. Also this is why so many coaches spend all that time on crossovers and getting them "right", and why at whatever level you are, the first thing a new coach (or any judge for that matter) looks at is your crossovers. My first coach told me that the quality of the crossovers and basic stroking is what seperates the skaters from the "Sunday" skaters.
 
 
You're both right! My coach makes me work on technique 90% of the time, but usually towards the end of a lesson he'll say "Just go for speed" and require me to skate round faster than I find comfortable, usually backwards (helllllp!). You need to spend at least part of each session skating outside your comfort zone, with or without your coach propping you up, and the rest of the time really focussing on good form. 

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Posted: 01-25-2007, 02:08 PM

 I'm slowing down on the 2-footed br-3-br also. I think it's a combination of not timing the knee action with the unweighting of the blade, so even though I'm not on the toe picks, I still scrape a bit. Also I don't tend to keep my head pointing down rink, staring at a spot on the wall, and I still have movement in my shoulders (or at least too much movement in shoulders for my new coach).

Hmmm. Maybe I will try not tensing up on these so much and think about making the turn quicker. Dmitry (new coach) said something to me the other week about not halting momentarily at the top of the rise before doing the turn. I knew conceptually what he meant but was having trouble with the translation from words to body. Now I have a feeling of a way that I could possibly do what he's asking (or at least be a bit closer). 


Offline JimStanmore

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Re: Skating Fast? - fsf
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2010, 10:32:48 PM »
Team Arthritis
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Posted: 01-25-2007, 02:08 PM

 OK here's what I really want to know - what was your longest fall after a blade click trying to go fast????

I can't score on distance but I did get a rebound off the side AND end boards once
Lyle 

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Posted: 01-25-2007, 02:11 PM

 New coach divides up skills by lesson (I normally work with him 2-3 days a week). This is all dependent on how my troublesome knee is behaving on any given day of course.

1 day is usually all basic stroking and power, focusing on improving basic stroking and flow, and making me move quicker (quicker and faster are not necessarily the same thing).

1 day is a mix, usually drills incorporating skills worked on in previous lessons (testing body memory)

1 day is all technical stuff like turns etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs Redboots 
You're both right! My coach makes me work on technique 90% of the time, but usually towards the end of a lesson he'll say "Just go for speed" and require me to skate round faster than I find comfortable, usually backwards (helllllp!). You need to spend at least part of each session skating outside your comfort zone, with or without your coach propping you up, and the rest of the time really focussing on good form.
 
 
 

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Posted: 01-25-2007, 02:26 PM

 Agreed w/Mrs Redboots here!

There is a time and a place to have proper techniques vs. actually just go full blown "skating with abandonment."

The proper technique, as I see it, are the tools you need to skate at faster speeds with minimal effort. But for someone who need to deal with the fear of speed and getting used to going faster, you occasionally need to "feed the (coaches' ) need for speed" to see where you are in the process and to build confidence for when you do need to go faster. That means you sometimes need to "screw the technique" and just GO FOR IT!!!

So it really depends...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Team Arthritis 
OK here's what I really want to know - what was your longest fall after a blade click trying to go fast????
 
 
I went "bowling" for public session skaters once!!! Knocked one (male) pin...eh, skater down along the ride... Both parties came out shaken but not stirred. Primary coach had a good laugh about it! 

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Posted: 01-25-2007, 03:11 PM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzpants 
Both parties came out shaken but not stirred.
 
 
(sorry I can't help it I'm about to burst) Blond, James Blond!
Lyle 

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Posted: 01-25-2007, 03:20 PM

 There is one answer that will give you more speed while also preventing you from clicking your blades: MAINTAIN A VERY DEEP KNEE BEND.

Why does this work?
Speed: Because you can't push off a straight leg, the deeper you bend your leg, the more you can push off with each stroke, which gives your more speed and distance per stroke.
No "Clink of Death": When you have deeply bent knees during crossovers, your feet are automatically farther apart on the ice, so it's impossible for them to come in contact with each other. I realized this after catching my blades once while stepping out from slow crossovers and ending up right on my chin. But it hasn't happened since I started bending deeper and keeping my feet farther apart on the ice!

Once you've become aware of your technique, start following a fast skater around the rink, trying to push as hard as she does and trying to keep up, while also imitating her technique. And don't worry about falling, because when you are skating fast, you just slide across the ice and it doesn't even hurt. It can actually be kind of fun. :p 

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Posted: 01-25-2007, 03:32 PM

 What I have trouble with is staying down in the knee long enough. Husband is always complaining I push off too quickly, but if I try to slow myself down I overdo it. 

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Posted: 01-25-2007, 05:02 PM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by Team Arthritis 
OK here's what I really want to know - what was your longest fall after a blade click trying to go fast????

I can't score on distance but I did get a rebound off the side AND end boards once
Lyle
 
 
I dont know how long it was, but I was doing foward crossovers, going really fast, when I didn't click my blades exactly, but I think I leaned too much, lost my slid from the part of the circle closest to the corner of the rink all teh way until I was close to the nearest hockey line. Of course, I was also wearing those jogging pants that day and those tend to be really slippery. So of course, I got up, and decided to try again. And the same thing happened, I picked up speed, lost my footing, and fell over. Only htis time, my friend managed to trip over me as I was sliding and in doing so, stopped me from sliding. Luckily it was an empty public session, just me and my friend so nobody else saw my 2 consecutive wipeouts and I didn't have to avoid any other skaters as I was sliding.

Although personally, I never had a problem going fast. When I was little, my dad would take me skating, and he used to be one amazing skater. He was incredibly fast, I think we once timed him as being able to do one lap around the NHL size rink at around 16 seconds or so. So what he used to do was take me around with him. He would skate as fast as he could, pulling me along behind him, and I had to keep up. He also tried to teach me to stop this way. He'd skate fast, then stop near the boards. If I didn't stop in time, I'd go crashing into the boards. He's one of those "throw them in the deep end" dads. Although something must have worked because even after I got back into skating, I was never afraid of skating fast and once I fell a couple times my first itme out, I was pretty much OK with the falling bit as well. 

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Posted: 01-25-2007, 05:35 PM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by Team Arthritis 
GO JESSI!
be afraid- that's how you know you are pushing it.
forget form - just skate fast,
 
 

Yep.

I found that when I was starting to feel like I was going 'too fast', what I think I was really feeling was the 'centrifugal force', if you will. That, and not having enough control to change direction as quickly as the speed required. What helped me was to learn how to do crossovers around the entire perimeter, weaving towards the center circle down the sides of the rink. (Is this 'russian stroking'? I'm never quite sure.)

Anyway, it helped because when I started to feel like the speed around the ends was flinging me out towards the boards, it was time to shift my weight back towards the center of the rink and do the 'other side' crossovers. That constant and rhythmic weight-shifting helped me learn to control the crossovers, and the speed kept increasing. (Of course, my knee-bend was getting better all the time, too, which also helps a great deal.) 

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Posted: 01-25-2007, 09:50 PM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzpants 
Agreed w/Mrs Redboots here!

There is a time and a place to have proper techniques vs. actually just go full blown "skating with abandonment."

..."JUST GO FOR IT"...

... Both parties came out shaken but not stirred. Primary coach had a good laugh about it!
 
 
Way to go "007" 

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Posted: 01-26-2007, 05:29 AM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzpants 
I went "bowling" for public session skaters once!!! Knocked one (male) pin...eh, skater down along the ride... Both parties came out shaken but not stirred. Primary coach had a good laugh about it!
 
 
LOL! The last time a coach pushed me for speed was my summer coach and I was learning forward cross-overs on the faceoff circle in the end zone. She was standing against the boards by the circle and it was my coach I nearly took out! She was hollering "Faster! Faster!". I was TRUCKIN' and leaning WAY into the circle when I lost my edge and was headed straight for my coach! She crossed her hands over her heart and the expression on her face said "I am going to DIE!" Fortunately I managed to catch an edge and was sliding fast enough to rise up to my feet and regain the circle but by then I was laughing so hard I couldn't sake. I would pay money to have a picture of the expression on her face in that instant!

I am fast enough now that my coach insists on having a "straight-away" in my Interpretive program to show off my speed/power. The problem is that I am going so darned fast at the end of that sequence that I have to throw in a one-foot stop to take off most of the speed. If I tried going into any other move at that point, I'd take MYSELF out! 

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Posted: 01-26-2007, 10:39 AM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty Blades 
The problem is that I am going so darned fast at the end of that sequence that I have to throw in a one-foot stop to take off most of the speed. If I tried going into any other move at that point, I'd take MYSELF out!
 
 
yeh me too! Had a little one who kept cutting me off while I was doing power 3's in warmup this week. I started saying "don't jump in front of the TRAIN" on each pass. That made her laugh AND she started paying attention.
Lyle 

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Posted: 01-26-2007, 10:41 AM

 I really learned how to skate fast after I started taking ice dance. Find less crowded sessions at least once in a while, if possible so you can really open up. I hate to keep harping on this but the results for me were incredible. Spend some time on roller skates. Get some inlines. Pics in a rink (IMO) are best. You will push like you never have before and when you step on the ice, you will feel like you are flying. Once you get good at the picskates, you will be amazed by how much faster you skate on ice. It worked absolute wonders for me. i was not the same skater.

Kay 

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Posted: 01-27-2007, 03:32 AM

 Ok, so that crunchy rip sound is a good thing? 

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Posted: 01-27-2007, 07:23 AM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by Hannah 
Ok, so that crunchy rip sound is a good thing?
 
 
Yes. I'm addicted to it. 

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Posted: 01-27-2007, 07:35 AM

 My coach has me practicing "push-unders" rather than "cross-overs".

To increase power, try this:

On a circle, do a cross-over. Do not remove the crossed-under foot from the ice. Instead, keep sculling it under & always in back of the front (outside) foot. Seek power and increased momentum from that foot and let the front foot go along for the ride. 


Offline JimStanmore

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Re: Skating Fast? - fsf
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2010, 10:33:16 PM »
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Posted: 01-27-2007, 09:43 AM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by Hannah 
Ok, so that crunchy rip sound is a good thing?
 
 
That depends! The better your technique, the quieter your stroking will be. My first coach was a real stickler for technique - proper knee-bend, extension, push with the heel of the blade - it took me a month to get all the "toe pick rip" out of my forward stroking - now I am really aware of the difference in sound and certainly notice it with other skaters to. Another thing about good technique is that there is much less "extraneous body movement" - it looks much different, more effortless. When I encounter another skater who was taught stroking in "the old school" it is readily obvious in both appearance and sound (and it is amazing how few of the youngsters do good stroking).

Though I was fast before learning good technique, I am faster now and with less effort, both on cross-overs and forward stroking - so much so that my coach says it is one of my strong points and insists on having one "flat out" segment in my program. 

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Posted: 01-27-2007, 04:22 PM

 There's a difference, though, between the scrapy scratch of a toe-rake (which you don't want to hear and it slows you down) and the wonderful "grunch" sound of a seriously good edge (which you do, and it speeds you up!). 

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Posted: 01-30-2007, 03:17 AM

 Just skate fast more - push yourself and it becomes fun. Maybe make friends with some of the kids at your rink and engage in games of tag or races.

If your edges are slippery, try a deeper ROH on your next sharpening (I like 3/8"). You can always change back if it doesn't work for you. Only change 1/16" at a time so it's not too much of a change at once... Also a good sharpener makes all the difference in the world so if you have several available, use the best you can.

If you fall while going fast, more of the force of your fall is directed outwards, so it will hurt less. My worst falls have been while standing still or moving very slowly. While the fast falls look dramatic, they're painless.

Work on deep edges, push them a bit more and more in everything you do. Do simple things fast to start with, like just crossovers, forward skating, and then toss in a waltz jump and then go look at your tracing to see how far you got and push yourself to get a longer one.

Make sure you can stop fast - that'll make skating faster easier as you'll be more comfortable with handling close calls.

I have my own opinions about warming up - I tend to warm up with fast skating...it may look pooey before it's warmed up but I don't care. I find that if I start fast, I tend to skate faster overall rather than piddling along as much throughout the rest of the session. 

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Posted: 01-30-2007, 12:24 PM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by Casey 
I have my own opinions about warming up - I tend to warm up with fast skating...it may look pooey before it's warmed up but I don't care. I find that if I start fast, I tend to skate faster overall rather than piddling along as much throughout the rest of the session.
 
 
that's me, pushing it but "pooey" for the first 15min
Lyle 

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Posted: 01-31-2007, 08:37 AM

 Well I found a way to practice going fast. I had 20 minutes of ice with only 1 other person and 10 minutes of ice all to myself! With no one to get in the way of, I really took off.

On my strong side, both back and forward- I can generate a lot of power. I get a lot faster backwards.

On my weak side, it's really scary- but I tried. I clicked my blades going backwards, and went flying into the wall. A good fall is enough to freak me out and just cause continual falls- I get so shaky, it's ridiculous-, so I stopped the "speed" drills- but I got 10 minutes in.

I took my private sheet of ice and just skated around pretending I was in the olympics- it was quite fun. I love skating to music, interpreting etc. Of course anyone in the food court watch were probably wondering when I was going to do somethign cool, because I was skating as if I'd be going into triple jumps soon.

Then I practiced lots of backward spirals, including on edges- which is new.

Private ice is nice. 

Team Arthritis
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Posted: 01-31-2007, 11:16 AM

 OK this thread got me determined to also end each skate with something fast, so yesterday was fast FXO's into half rink FIedge Spirals - YIKES do I hate these
Lyle 

mikawendy
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Posted: 02-01-2007, 12:09 AM

 One thing I noticed yesterday is that sometimes when I push "slower," I sometimes go faster than when I'm trying to push "faster." That is, if I have only a little time between pushes, I sometimes don't go as fast as when I leave a longer time between pushes. This must mean that I'm getting a harder/more forceful push when I concentrate on long, powerful pushes with good use of the entire leg for each push (more time between pushes, but more force built up on every push).

This finally explained to me why there was one section in an old version of my program where I'd always try to go fast and think, I'm moving my feet fast but I'm going so slow--I was getting no power from those pushes.

...So, if "skate faster" isn't working, then think "push harder" or "push longer." 

iceballerina
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Posted: 02-01-2007, 02:30 AM

 Quote:
I think part of my issue with falling is when I did the basics, I never fell. I think I can count the falls of my first 8 months of skating on one hand, and the past 2 months on the other. So now that I'm advancing I'm scared to let myself fall because I didn't do it then. 
 
Same here, except, my one major fall was on the side of my head

That is holding me back more than anything, well except maybe the crappy skates. I find that I feel more secure and can go faster doing backward crossovers and the forward ones are more challenging for me. I also have a problem neck and since everyone skates CCW in the rink, of course I end up getting more practice on that side and my neck gets all stiff from constantly turning it to the right to look behind me. I just hate that. 

Mrs Redboots
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Posted: 02-01-2007, 07:17 AM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by mikawendy 
One thing I noticed yesterday is that sometimes when I push "slower," I sometimes go faster than when I'm trying to push "faster."
 
 
Indeed. That's why it's a good speed drill to skate as fast as you can down one side of the rink and round the end, and then on the second side, try to manage with just one push!

Alternatively, try to get round the rink with a maximum of 4 pushes each side (this can be done, even an in Olympic-sized rink, as long as the ice is fairly good - on rather used ice it is harder).

Husband and I do this, and now we are focussing on really finishing our edges when we skate together in waltz hold (or in Kilian hold, come to that), and our speed over the ice has seriously increased.

Sometimes, if we are doing something we have trouble with, our coach makes us go slowly until we reach the half-way line, and then increase speed. We were doing this on Tuesday with skating backwards in Kilian hold (something we both find tricky, especially me), and actually got something that might even have been called a back outside edge, if you squinted at it in a dim light! 

Rusty Blades
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Posted: 02-01-2007, 07:56 AM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs Redboots 
... focusing on really finishing our edges
 
 
That's it! That's the phrase I was looking for Annabel! THAT'S the key part of technique that produces speed and why a "quiet skater" can be so fast.

Personally I can feel the difference immediately - on forward stroking, I am very aware of the pushing foot finishing on the heel of the blade with good toe-turn-out and all the energy has been transferred (therefore no "rip"). On forward XO's the weight transfer is complete an instant before the free foot comes of the ice so they are quiet to. (Ok, on XOs I often get a "crackling" sound but that's on the skating foot and because I am going too fast and just barely hanging on to that edge!) 

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Posted: 02-01-2007, 08:15 AM

 IMHO it's important to try and get technique as good as possible before worrying about speed.

Up until a few days ago, I'd never attempted back crossovers at speed, because I was concerned about doing them properly first, and I think that has paid off. This morning my coach had me doing them at speed, and the CW ones felt great, strong, fast, and a nice 'crunch' sound. The CCW were weaker, and slower and there were some occasional but distinct toe-scraping sounds coming out.

My point is: I've worked harder on the CW ones because they were intially weaker, and because the technique's correct the speed wasn't being hampered by scraping toe picks.

S xxx 

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Posted: 02-01-2007, 05:47 PM

 What people are saying about fewer strokes with more glide per stroke is absolutely right! I often forget that more quick strokes will not get me down the ice as fast as fewer deep strokes, so I have to play this game with myself. . . I tell myself the objective is to get from point A to point B in my program using the fewest strokes possible (I tell myself I have a limited number of strokes I'm allowed to use or that the skater who uses the fewest strokes wins). Then I just bend my knees deeper before each push-off, really extend on the push-off, keep my skating knee bent and wait until the edge is done. Then I do the same for the next one. It's just amazing how well it works! 

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Posted: 02-01-2007, 08:06 PM

 Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs Redboots 
we are focussing on really finishing our edges
 
 
What does that mean, "finishing" them? Does it refer to extension on the ice? Extension of the free foot *off* the ice? Or something else?

Knee bend makes a huge difference (and for me requires a bit of warmup time).

I'm confused about "rip" vs. skidding. There's a crunchy feel and I guess "rip" sound that's fun to get when I push hard into the ice, or lean deeply into a static edge. But yesterday I noticed that some of the rip I *thought* I was getting during forward stroking was actually due to my blade skidding at the end of my on-ice extension. It's easy for me to get sloppy there because I'm used to inline, which has different grip characteristics (basically, I think, inlines will skid no matter what as you approach full extension, while proper technique on ice can avoid it).

When I put my focus on avoiding that end-of-stroke skid, and on deep kneebend, I think it helped my speed.

Arms. Here's what I'm uncomfortable with. When I hold my arms out statically infront of me at around hiplevel for forward stroking, I feel like a dork. Doing it helps a bit with stabilizing my body and core, which of course promotes power, but I miss the armswing that you learn to use while accelerating or sprinting in speedskating. Not so much when *maintaining* speed, but definitely when getting going from a standstill or slow glide!

For forward crossovers, either the static arms held along the circle or the speedskater swing seems comfortable to me, so that's not an issue. For back xs, I don't think I'd even feel stable if I didn't hold my arms nice and strongly in place along the circle.

Comments on arm usage for power? 

Mrs Redboots
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Posted: 02-02-2007, 07:58 AM

 As I understand it, "finishing the edge" means making sure you stay on an edge until the very last possible moment, not allowing yourself to flatten off at the end of the lobe.

If you are going to make a wonderful "rip" noise with your edge, it will be in the middle of the lobe, not at the end.