Exercises to Build Skating Skills – Part 3 (Denise Myers)

World and Olympic coach Denise Myers continues her 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, as well as build skills and physical strength to improve jumping and spinning. Denise says, “From little on I start these kids with these exercises.” See Part 1 hereSee Part 2 here. In this video, Denise shares a series of challenging exercises demanding patience and strong knee bend as well as excellent rotational control and alignment.

The first exercise is a forward inside rocker to back inside edge followed by an edge pull to the back outside and then a forward choctaw to a forward inside edge where the sequence can start again on the other foot. Denise want a strong re-bend (“ankle, knee, and not the hips”) after the choctaw to help the skater use the edges of the rocker for power. The goal is to have strong knee action and well-defined edges and lobes.

For the back inside version of this drill, the skater begins with a back inside rocker to a forward inside edge followed by a pull to the forward outside edge and then forward choctaw to the back inside edge on the other skate where the skater can then repeat the steps on the other foot. Denise wants the skater’s eyes up and to “use your torso” to fully twist to create the turns. Denise says, “What I’m trying to get them to do is generate power without actually having to do crossovers so if they use their edge pulls correctly in their knee and ankle, I really feel like they can generate power from nothing.”

Next is the forward outside version of the drill. It begins on a forward outside edge into a forward outside rocker, then directly using the back outside edge rocker exit as the choctaw entrance. The choctaw exits on the forward inside edge on the other foot and is followed by a power pull to a forward outside edge where the pattern can begin again on the other foot.

The final drill is the back outside version. It begins with a back outside rocker to a forward outside edge and then a pull to the forward inside edge into a forward choctaw to a back outside edge on the other skate and the pattern repeats from there on the other foot. It’s necessary to keep the head and upper body turning in the direction of rotation after the choctaw for the skater to be able to perform the next rocker. Denise has the skater “spot” a location directly down the long axis of the rink to help with proper head and shoulder movement.

Again, it’s important to re-bend for the pulls and edges where power can be generated. Skaters may feel the need to “jump” the turns or steps but this is not desired as it makes having control and soft knees more difficult. Denise notes that although US skaters learn these turns and steps from moves in the field training, they typically do not master them for program transitions without additional training and drills such as the ones in this video.


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