Exercises to Build Skating Skills – Part 1 (Denise Myers)

World and Olympic coach Denise Myers begins a multi-part series sharing a variety of exercises and drills intended to improve overall skating skills. These exercises would be excellent as part of an on-ice warm-up or at the end of a session or training day. The ultimate goal is to build skills that translate into improved transitions in programs. Denise says, “From little on I start these kids with these exercises.”

The first exercise is a series of forward crossover to outside to inside edge change down one side of the rink, followed by a series of forward crossover to inside to outside change of edge down the other side of the rink. The focus is on deep knee and ankle bends throughout and getting a good power pull on the edge change. Notice the “down up down” rhythm Denise wants.

For the next exercise, the skater does a forward inside three turn followed by a stretch and pull with a step forward into a forward crossover before stepping to the inside edge and repeating. Denise counts out the desired timing “one, two, three, turn” as a way to generate consistent rhythm throughout. The skater should collect the feet together after the pull in order to step forward with a deep re-bend and a powerful push.

The third exercise is backward outside to inside power pulls where the skater does a back outside power pull with a free leg swing followed by a back inside pull before stepping down onto a backward outside edge to start the outside pull on the other foot. This is repeated down the ice on both sides. When done correctly, the skater has a strong head and shoulder turn. Denise counts out the knee rhythm.

Denise calls the next exercise “The Backstroke” and it consists of a backward crossover to a stretch pull on the outside edge. It can be challenging to create a pull during a stretch but notice how deep the edge is during the stretch. It gets it’s name from the arm movement during the stretch.

The final exercise is similar, starting with a back crossover and pull into a back outside three-turn followed by a forward step into a forward mohawk and power push (crossover). A common error for this exercise is alignment during the three turn, and skaters should keep their hips tucked under. Another common error is excessive head movement.


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