Building Powerful Pushes (Douglas Webster)

Professional choreographer Douglas Webster works with a class on ways to generate more power from basic pushes. Many of these concepts are similar to those Doug has already shared here at iCoachSkating. To begin this class, Doug explains that skaters can move across the ice without doing correct pushes. This is somewhat unfortunate, as many skaters never learn to push correctly.

For the first exercise, Doug uses the simple hockey lunge. He wants the skaters to bend and collect the feet underneath before pushing onto the lobe and going into the lunge position. It is the pre-bend of the pushing leg that is so important here. Also, direction of focus (where the skater looks) is incredibly helpful for proper pushing and proper edge quality.

Next, Doug demonstrates back hockey lunges. Again, there is a strong bend before the initial push, but there is also another “push” from the active edge of the of the front foot on the lobe. Doug emphasizes that the first push should be a full C-cut where the leg pushes all the way around to a position behind the front leg. He makes a point of explaining the necessary weight transfer in detail. He continues with this theme by asking the skaters to physically pick up the foot after the initial push when the skate has reached a position behind them. Later he shows how this weight transfer can be exaggerated by hopping from one skate to the other. His hands-on-hips exercise is a great way to get the entire body moving in the correct direction, thereby maximizing balance and alignment and edge quality.

There is minimal footage in this video of the class performing these drills, partly because many in the class struggled with these concepts, and partly because the emphasis here is on the exercises that Doug is sharing. Modeling Doug’s skating should be our goal.


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