Tips For Power and Speed (Nick Perna)

International coach Nick Perna talks about speed and power and offers some tips for developing more speed and power. To begin the video, he stresses the need to encourage skaters to “crunch” the ice on every push. He says, “If you listen to good skaters, you’re going to always hear a crunch. Every time they take a stroke, a turn, a push… everything has a crunch to it” except passive edges (spiral, spread eagle, gliding, etc). Nick wants his skaters to be able to “crunch everything” such as basic stroking, 3-turns, mohawks, and every push on a crossover (as examples). He says, “If they can’t get a crunch, they’re really not on an active edge, they’re not getting power.”

One of Nick’s favorite way to work on leg strength and push power is to have a skater start in a T-position at the end of the rink, and with just one powerful push, see how far they can glide in a straight line, trying to get to the other end of the rink. It’s very rare that a skater can do this, but it’s a good challenge, and it’s particularly valuable if you keep records of this over time to see a skater’s individual progress (or lack of it). Nick has his skaters do this drill on both feet, and also backwards.

Another tool that makes working on speed more fun and measurable is to use a sports radar gun that measures actual skater speed. Nick uses this “a couple times a year, usually in the fall and in the summer” to see if the skaters have made progress in their skating speed. As Nick notes, the rink record at Fairfax Ice Arena is held by World Bronze Medalist Michael Weiss at 25 miles per hour. “Generally speaking, the high level skaters will be in the 18 to 20 mph range. The lower level skaters will be between 11 and 15 mph.” As Nick notes, “It’s a big difference between a 15 mph skater and a 20 mph skater. It’s very noticeable.”

Speed is so important in modern skating because it translates directly into higher jumps with more flow, more exciting skating, and higher scores from judges.


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